What Causes Such Shocking Poverty?

Did you know there’s never been a real famine in the United States?

One thing alone is responsible for that fact, and that one thing is this:

Private property rights.

It is the absence of fully protected property that creates poverty.

As the brilliant Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto puts it in his book — which I highly recommend — The Mystery of Capital:

Many of the poorest countries in the world possess enormous amounts of capital, but their ownership is insecure because of faulty or nonexistent property law or property rights protection. The value of private savings in the ‘poor’ countries of the world is forty times the amount of foreign aid they have received since 1945. [The citizens of poorer countries] hold these resources in defective forms: houses built on land whose ownership rights are not adequately recorded, unincorporated businesses with undefined liability, industries located where financiers and investors cannot see them. Because the rights to these possessions are not adequately documented, these assets cannot readily be turned into capital, cannot be traded outside of narrow local circles, cannot be used as collateral…

(This, incidentally, is also the fundamental reason that the Native American Indian Reservations exist is such a horrific state of grinding poverty: our good progressive government — right and left — doesn’t allow Native Americans to own property: i.e. they exist by governmental permission.)

Compare that to property laws in the west where, says de Soto, “every parcel of land, every building, every piece of equipment, or store of inventories is represented in a property document that is the visible sign of a vast hidden process that connects all these assets to the rest of the economy” (Ibid).

Private property is the crux of prosperity.

Please make no mistake about that.

And property, never forget, is nothing more, or less, than an extension of person.

The cornerstone of all socialist-Marxist theory, on the other hand, is, as Karl Marx himself famously put it, “the abolition of private property.”

When will this monstrous ideology and its legions of proponents and practitioners be at last held accountable for creating the shocking poverty such as we see in the photo above?


[Laissez-faire] stands alone as the only feasible way to rationally organize a modern economy. At this moment in history, no responsible nation has a choice (ibid).


  • Alejandro

    December 7, 2017

    Excellent piece. Echoes concepts I read about in Finite and Infinite Games.

    “The purpose of property is to make our titles visible. Property is emblematic. It recalls to others those areas in which our victories are beyond challenge. Property may be stolen, but the thief does not therefore own it. Ownership can never be stolen. Titles are timeless, and so is the ownership of property. Nations will sometimes go to war over claims to the ownership of land that go back many centuries.” -James Carse

  • Ray

    December 7, 2017

    That’s a really good quote. I’d never heard that before. Thank you.

    And thank you for dropping by.

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