Above: Hernando de Soto Polar (Left) stands next to President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori. Source: "Power of the Poor", Free to Choose Network
WHo Is hernando de soto?
Hernando de Soto Polar (most commonly referred to in the Peruvian tradition as de Soto) was one of the first economists who took on the failed approaches to the problem of poverty by advocating a 20th century solution: property rights for poor people. His story was even more remarkable because he was not a politician, but rather a businessman. His devotion for standing up for the poor pushed him outside of his comfortable business environment as he took his ideas not only into the shanty towns of Peru, but also went up against violent terrorists and skeptical politicians in the capital of Lima.
Poverty has been an unsolved problem for most of human history. By the 1980’s, two thirds of the world was made up of the poor. Within Peru, many migrated to the largest cities in search of a better job and broader life choices. They lived and worked outside of the normal economy and outside of the law, not because they wanted to be outsiders, but because they did not have access. This is not known as illegal, it is known as extra legal, meaning they are outside of the system and have no provable identity, and therefore no legal way to show ownership to obtain credit. Hernando de Soto noticed the huge numbers of these people, and began to theorize about how to include the poor, and thereby help to give them access to the same road to success as others in the economy.
Hernando de Soto Polar (Right) speaking at the Tribunal De Simplification Administrativa
Source: "Power of the Poor", Free to Choose Network