Re: BOOK: The Mystery of Capital

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Oct 19 2001 - 10:03:44 MDT

From: "Brian D Williams" <>
> The theme of De Soto's book is that even in the west we forgot how
> capitalism evolved. Countries try to adopt the end result without
> having in place the necessary infrastructure.

OK, Brian. Thank you for that information. Now it makes sense.

> De Soto went back in history to study the evolution of the American
> economic system. He draws parallels between the very same problems
> experienced by newly formed free market societies and early
> America.
> He then attempts to show what is necessary to go from where they
> are to where they want to be. It is nothing short of revolutionary.
> I bet this guy wins a Nobel prize.

I think _you_ should get a prize for summing it up so explicitly and clearly.
(Plus, now I don't need to read the book, so thanks again.)

> One of the reasons I don't shop Wal-Mart. De Soto has mentioned
> both India and China (I'm 25% into the book) but has already
> pointed out significant problems with both.

Now I have to take back what I said about not needing to read it.
Wonder what he predicts about the raging capitalist fervor in coastal China.

> >.... and that's Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails
> >Everywhere Else?
> Yep, and makes a damn good case for it.

Well, it took a while to get going in North America too, and Mexico (part of
the West?) still doesn't seem to have got the knack of it.

> Its a great deal more complex than that, you've oversimplified what
> he is saying. As he points out bureaucracy makes it almost
> impossible to own your own home/land/company in many countries much
> less use it as an economic asset.

I'll take your word for it, and be glad someone else wants to deal with these
economic issues. Guess that growing up with private property rights and
ownership just makes it seem unnatural that other countries don't do things
the American way.

> I agree that everyone needs to learn this, but this is not the
> whole answer as I believe De Soto correctly points out.
> Without the infrastructure, asset management as we practice it here
> in the west isn't possible in these countries.

There's that "west" word again. What about Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, etc.?
They're not part of the West, and they're doing great with capitalism, aren't

> I really think you'd enjoy the book, I'm damn sorry I wasn't
> introduced to it at Extro-5. (Damn I hated missing that!)

You make it sound worth reading, but I'll bet you could do a book review that
reads as well or better (and that would save us all some time in the bargain).

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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