I believe efficient and recognized property rights to land etc. are one of the keys to sustainable economic development. Hernando de Soto puts forth the case for property rights very well and has aided in the registration of hundreds of thousands if not million of homes that were dead capital. I put de Soto as an odds on favorite for a Nobel in Economics or the peace prize in the coming years. de Soto and Amartya Sen are truly interesting economists.
To learn more about dead capital visit here. There is $9 trillion sitting in developing countries ready to be used, by their own citizens. That is development power waiting to be used. No foreign aid required.
Here is the latest Property Rights index showing the world where it is easy to register property. There is a strong correlation between property rights and GDP/capita and most other development indicators. Correlation isn't causation, but there is some compelling arguments here.
International Property Rights Index is the publisher of the report. The follow in the model of the Doing Business report put out by the World Bank, which is conceptually similar to Transparency International's work on corruption perceptions indexes.
Dead Capital fixes have a high ROI
For those interested in understanding big global problems and why property rights change has such a high ROI check out this book Solutions to the World's Biggest Problems. It totally rocks.
IPRI and Transparency International do a lot of good and my hope is that the publications create social pressure for neighboring countries to compete positively to improve their relative metrics. My only wish would be that the data was open and that the details of the process for property and business registration were public in a wiki format, so that wonks could start hacking and advocate positive changes. We all need more live capital.
how an index and data help with these problems.
- Raise awareness using simple comparative metrics
- Allow for research econometric and social into outcomes costs and impacts
- Raise competitive instinct in peer countries
- Provide a public forum for reflection and desire for relative improvement over time
My own idea is to have a process based "workflow" wiki, to allow technocrats and field researchers and lay people to capture and study real world and best practices in property registration, transfer, recognition and dispute resolution.
Best practice for property registration means, cheap, fast and law abiding. The idea is that various states and regions can study solutions can best practices can be deployed. The federal system is predicated upon this idea for nations. Info sharing between states, technocrats and individual actors could free up trillions for poor people. Property Wiki is that idea.