New Delhi: Economist Hernando De Soto has faced death threats and survived assassination attempts from extremist organizations that opposed his movement to offer government guaranteed title over property in Peru. He estimates that the think tank he founded, the Institute of Liberty and Democracy, has received more than 500kg of explosives over time. Eventually, De Soto prevailed in one of the most radical makeovers of a society that brought an informal economy and thereby bulk of the populace within the regulatory fold through the ingenious effort of providing land titles. Ever since, he has been consulting several governments world over to productionize this philosophy and ensure that the growth process becomes more inclusive.
In the capital recently on a personal visit, De Soto spoke to Mint on the subject as well as the challenges and the need for a resolute political will to implement guaranteed land titles. Edited excerpts: