We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“With legal property, the advanced nations of the West had the key to modern development; their citizens now had the means to discover, with great facility and on an ongoing basis, the most potentially productive qualities of their resources. As Aristotle discovered 2,3000 years ago, what you can do with things increases infinitely when you focus your thinking on their potential.”

- Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital, page 50.

6 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Very good.

  • Mr Ed

    But as Hayek pointed out, you do not need to understand the system to work it to your advantage, as Mises said, good eyesight does not make you an optician. Our most urgent task is to ensure that people understand the vital importance of private property.

  • CaptDMO

    Well, if American history books weren’t so selectively edited….
    School children would learn that the original settlers abandoned the communist “economics” (by any other name) experiment after year one (mmmmm maybe year two) as unworkable for survival.
    Great bounty followed.
    Of course, indigenous folk helped.

  • CaptDMO

    “…what you can do with things increases infinitely when you focus your thinking on their potential.”
    Of course, when outside forces move the goal posts, (intentional devaluation of currency) like Roman, German, Mexican, &al “economists” do, then it’s tough to keep one’s eye on the prize.
    Meanwhile, today in the US…….taxation on the middle (craftsmen, merchants) class’s assets increases infinitely.
    Bread (“health” care), circuses (opinion/talking heads), and promissory notes, abound.

    Something about standing in a bucket and picking one’s self up….

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    I read recently that a part of the Antarctic was not claimed by any country! I think it was Mary Bird land, or some such name! If you want to start a new property-respecting nation, this could be your chance!

  • Laird

    A good quote, from an important book. (By the way, it’s on page 51 in my copy.) But you omitted the remainder of that paragraph, which forms the real core of de Soto’s thesis:

    “By learning to fix the economic potential of their assets through property records, Westerners created a fast track to explore the most productive aspects of their possessions. Formal property became the staircase to the conceptual realm where the economic meaning of things can be discovered and where capital is born.”

    The essence of de Soto’s argument is that the rule of law, which formalizes and protects property ownership, is what makes capitalism possible. And its lack is the reason there is so much poverty in the world, notwithstanding the resourcefulness of people everywhere. Enforceable rule of law is the key.