Much of this is due to an absence of basic property rights, as economist Hernando de Soto argues throughout his popular book, The Mystery of Capital. If the global poor don’t have the legal means or incentives to trade beyond families and small communities, so-called “globalization” will still leave plenty behind.
In a recent lecture, de Soto distilled this basic argument rather well. The full remarks are worth noting, but his point on the lack of internal trade deserves more attention than it receives:
'Forget about globalization — real globalization. To be sure, the world has become smaller and more interconnected for many people and businesses. International commerce, the media, the Internet, and advances in computer and information technology have changed the world. “Globalization” is on everyone’s agenda. But if, as I have argued, most of the businesses and entrepreneurs in the world are on the outside looking in, operating outside the legal system in a parallel, extralegal economy, then four billion or so people around the world are in no position to take part in globalization...'
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