May 05, 2003

RAMESH PONNURU HAS AN INTERVIEW WITH HERNANDO DE SOTO on Iraqi reconstruction. Interesting stuff. Excerpt:

But if the question is have you been doing a model study to taking over the property system of Iraq, no.

Let me remind you, though, that that's what MacArthur did. The first thing he did was set up a property system. It's very poorly documented. I was very interested [in this] when we had an up and coming politician [in Peru] named Fujimori. Why did they come to Peru and why did the de Sotos not go to Japan? What happened was that after 1945, what MacArthur wanted to do [was] to give the peasants and the poor people and the citizens the title [to land] and take it away from the feudal class.

[At the same time,] Chiang Kai-shek was suddenly losing to Mao Tse-tung . . . and the reason, as MacArthur understood, was that Mao Tse-tung had begun to title. It was collective title, but that was still closer to [the peasants] than the feudal title.

So [the Americans] had a massive title and they spread wealth enormously and millions of Japanese had property. And now it's nine times wealthier than Peru. So you've done that before.

When you went to war in Vietnam Ho Chi Minh was also a titler. And the lessons that you learned in Japan you forgot in Vietnam. So they basically out-titled you.

I wonder what De Soto would think of the Oil Trust idea? I'd be very interested to hear.