Hernando de Soto, a pioneering Peruvian economist, argued in the Wall Street Journal that military might alone won’t defeat Islamic State and its ilk, but rather the U.S. needs to promote economic empowerment.
Using an example from recent history, Hernando describes how by 1990 a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organisation called Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, had seized control of most of his home country, Peru, where he served as the president’s principal adviser.
Fashionable opinion had it that capitalism couldn’t work outside of the West, when in fact reforms gave indigenous entrepreneurs and farmers control over their assets and a new, more accessible legal framework – thus spurring an unprecedented rise in living standards
Hernando argues that the same economic and cultural pessimism about the Arab world can be transformed by economic reform. He points out that “to make this agenda a reality, the only requirements are a little imagination, a hefty dose of capital (injected from the bottom up) and government leadership to build, streamline and fortify the laws and structures that let capitalism flourish. As anyone who’s walked the streets of Lima, Tunis and Cairo knows, capital isn’t the problem—it is the solution.”
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Stephen Sackur, the popular presenter and moderator, interviewed French economist Thomas Piketty on BBC’s HARDtalk.
Thomas’s book “Capital in the 21st Century” (Harvard University Press, 2014) has become an unlikely international best-seller. His thesis carries echoes of Karl Marx; modern capitalism, he believes, works in favour of entrenched wealth and exacerbates inequality. Recently, his research and conclusions have come under intense fire; has Thomas Piketty emerged unscathed?
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Allister Heath, an opinionated and articulate speaker on economic affairs, has today penned his last column as Editor of the London-based newspaper City A.M. Having been with the company for six years, which has now grown to an audited print circulation of 128,781 copies per day, he has transformed the newspaper into one of the most influential voices in London’s business community.
Allister’s parting thought for readers was that Britain needs to learn to love capitalism if it is to fulfil its full potential. He believes that “far too many people object to far too many of the institutions and practices that have generated the astonishing wealth and prosperity we take for granted.”
Whilst he notes that “the international authorities are still working on plans for a completely new bankruptcy code and system for large, systemic financial institutions,” Allister calls for a cultural revolution in the UK and across the Western world, arguing that “reinjecting the fear of bankruptcy into the system is the solution: it will mean that market mechanisms will be able to start disciplining finance again, and that we will no longer need to rely as much on heavy-handed and often flawed regulations.”
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