Hernando de Soto
January 20, 2006, LIMA — Two recent natural disasters have grabbed our hearts - the tsunami that ravaged 11 countries on the shores of the Indian Ocean, history's worst, and the hurricane called Katrina that inundated the city of New Orleans. Images from both regions were tragically similar: demolished buildings, floating corpses, stunned survivors, and water, water everywhere.
There was one profound difference. In New Orleans, the first thing authorities did to secure the peace and assure rebuilding was to salvage the city's legal property records that would quickly determine who owned what and where, who owed what and how much, who could be relocated quickly, who was creditworthy to finance reconstruction, whose property was so damaged that they needed help, and how to give the poor energy and clean water.
Read more: What if you can't prove you had a house?
by Hernando de Soto
The New York Times | October 15, 2001
LIMA, Peru - Newspaper headlines and television anchors across the United States ask, "Who are these people who hate us so much?" We who live in the Third World and the former Soviet nations know terrorism well. The 21st century terrorists we confront are ruthless politicians with domestic ambitions. Killing innocents is but a means to an end: taking control of political power in their own countries.
But these terrorist politicians have a common problem. They are small minorities in their own countries. To take power, they need to swell their ranks, and in the developing world, the overwhelming majority of people are poor. The difficulty is that for the past 30 years the poor in most places have been more interested in becoming entrepreneurs than revolutionaries. To improve their lives, they have migrated by the millions to the cities. You can see these migrants in the streets of the Middle East or Asia, selling what they manufacture in their shanties, from carpets and books to tools and engines.
Read more: The Constituency of Terror