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Copyright (c) 1992 Iowa University
Iowa Law Review

BOOK REVIEW: How to Make Poor Countries Rich and How to Enrich Our Poor *

* This title is taken in part from Jeremy Main, How to Make Poor Countries Rich, Forbes, Jan 16, 1989, at 101 (reviewing Hernando de Soto, The Other Path (1987)).

The Other Path, by Hernando de Soto, translated by June Abbott. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1989. Pp. xxvii, 271. $ 22.95 (Originally published in Spanish as El Otro Sendero in 1986.)

January, 1992

77 Iowa L. Rev. 899


Reviewed by Jane Kaufman Winn **


"The free market is the other path to development and the one true path. It is the people's path. And, unlike many other paths, it leads somewhere. It works."

President Ronald Reagan 1

"The Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto, has helped us understand a worldwide economic phenomenon . . . de Soto's great contribution has been to point out what, in retrospect, may seem obvious: People everywhere want the same things."

President George Bush 2

"This book has powerful implications, not only for the people of Peru and South America, but for people in the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe and in America's inner cities as well. . . . The Other Path is a powerful answer to those, even in America, who claim that entrepreneurial capitalism, private property and free enterprise won't work for the poor and low-income families struggling to escape poverty and despair."

HUD Secretary Jack Kemp 3


Conservatives in the United States, who are constructing a "New Paradigm," 4 designed to empower America's disadvantaged to solve their problems themselves, have canonized The Other Path. Although de Soto's empirical and historical research is focused on the problem of informal 5 economic activity in Peru, his conclusions boldly address fundamental questions of the law's relationship to economic development.

De Soto's iconoclastic thesis has confounded and inspired both the left and the right. He argues that individuals employed in the informal economy should not be viewed as exploited or deviant. ...
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