Hernando de Soto, the famous Peruvian economist and author of the book The Mystery of Capital, asserts that no nation can have a strong market economy without adequate participation in an information framework that records ownership of property and other economic information.
Unreported, unrecorded economic activity results in many small entrepreneurs, who lack legal ownership of their property, making it difficult for them to obtain credit, sell the business, or expand. They cannot seek legal remedies to business conflicts in court, since they do not have legal ownership. Lack of information on income prevents governments from collecting taxes and acting for the public welfare.
According to De Soto, the real problem is within the flawed legal systems of developing nations that make it virtually impossible for the majority of their people — and their assets — to gain a stake in the market. The people of these countries have talent, enthusiasm and an astonishing ability to wring a profit out of practically nothing. What the poor majority in the developing world do not have is easy access to the legal system which, in the advanced nations of the world and for the elite in their countries, is the gateway to economic success, for it is in the legal system where property documents are created and standardised according to law.
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