Tag Archives: property rights

The Capitalist Cure for Terrorism by Hernando de Soto

This is a fantastic article and offers the most sensible, and in the long term, the only strategy for fighting terrorism: empower millions of capitalists! It worked in Peru, and the author was instrumental in its success. He argues persuasively that it can work in the Middle East and northern Africa.

From Hernando de Soto, in the Wall Street Journal, 10/11/14

As the U.S. moves into a new theater of the war on terror, it will miss its best chance to beat back Islamic State and other radical groups in the Middle East if it doesn’t deploy a crucial but little-used weapon: an aggressive agenda for economic empowerment. Right now, all we hear about are airstrikes and military maneuvers—which is to be expected when facing down thugs bent on mayhem and destruction.

But if the goal is not only to degrade what President Barack Obama rightly calls Islamic State’s “network of death” but to make it impossible for radical leaders to recruit terrorists in the first place, the West must learn a simple lesson: Economic hope is the only way to win the battle for the constituencies on which terrorist groups feed.

I know something about this. A generation ago, much of Latin America was in turmoil. By 1990, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization called Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, had seized control of most of my home country, Peru, where I served as the president’s principal adviser. Fashionable opinion held that the people rebelling were the impoverished or underemployed wage slaves of Latin America, that capitalism couldn’t work outside the West and that Latin cultures didn’t really understand market economics.

The conventional wisdom proved to be wrong, however. Reforms in Peru gave indigenous entrepreneurs and farmers control over their assets and a new, more accessible legal framework in which to run businesses, make contracts and borrow—spurring an unprecedented rise in living standards.

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A Brief History of Government by Robert Gore

By Robert Gore

The history of government is a history of violence. The first caveman “leader” was the most skilled practitioner of violence; he provided security for his tribe and subjugated other tribes. His power meant that he was the dispenser of justice, resolving disputes and punishing those who broke the tribe’s taboos. His services were never free; tribute was exacted from those he led. Usually a theology was created that ascribed mystical powers to the leader—good PR.

As the millennia unrolled, tribes became city-states, nations, and empires; leaders became pharaohs, kings, czars, and emperors, and government remained a protection racket and dispenser of justice, often retaining the religious gloss. The only check on governments’ power was when they encountered overwhelming violence—invasion or revolution or some combination of the two. Every government failed eventually; the unfettered ability to employ violence against other people destroys human psyches, judgment, and morals. Governments compiled an unmatched record of war, genocide, and destruction of lives, property, commerce, and peaceful cooperation among people.

However, they are a necessary evil. For centuries political philosophers have grappled with how to preserve the necessary while eliminating the evil. The Founding Fathers tried to limit our government: designing a republic; delineating an agency role for government, to which the people delegated enumerated powers; separating those powers among three branches; creating checks and balances. Constitutional amendment, judicial interpretation, and executive, legislative, and bureaucratic accretions of power have destroyed that design. With only a few shrinking exceptions, our government can use its coercive power for any purpose it sees fit. That puts it in the illustrious company of every other government in the world, and all the failed governments since the cavemen. Continue reading