Re: BOOK: The Mystery of Capital

From: Greg Burch (
Date: Fri Oct 19 2001 - 16:39:11 MDT

-- Original Message --

>From: "Amara Graps" <>
>> It's a big deal if banks, mortgage companies,etc. inside and outside
>> of the owner's city, region, country ... recognize it as one's own
>> property.
>Yes, that would be necessary for real capitalism to emerge.
>> Owning your own home means absolutely nothing, asset-wise, if noone
>> around you accepts/recognizes it as your property. (That's one of the
>> big problems, as I understand it, about why these people, who do
>> indeed own their own property, cannot turn it into something of value
>> to their economic lives.)
>If these people can't own their own property, then they're not really living
>in a capitalist system, and therefore the sub-title of the book ("Why
>Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else") is erroneous,
>since capitalism is not actually in practice in these regions.
>Bottom line: this book sounds like a real stinker.

JR, you really shouldn't dismiss so lightly (without reading it) a very
short, well-written book that has been blowing good minds away with the
simplicity and power of its analysis and solid empirical work. As a coincidence,
I happened to be reading it when the discussion here broke out. It had
worked its way to the top of my list at the time of 911, when I aborted
my then current scholarship to undertake a course of Islamic studies. Since
I was choking on Islamic history and other matters Mohammedan this week,
I decided to pick up de Soto's book.

It's great.

It's a very good theoretical and factual counterpart of Richard Pipes' "Property
and Freedom" that I mentioned here some time ago and also belongs on the
same bookshelf as Fukuyama and Postrel. I highly recommend it to you.

       Greg Burch -
     Attorney::Vice President, Extropy Institute

    "We never stop investigating. We are never
      satisfied that we know enough to get by.
   Every question we answer leads on to another
      question. This has become the greatest
          survival trick of our species."
                -- Desmond Morris

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