PLSC 270: Capitalism: Success, Crisis, and Reform

Lecture 16

 - Braudel's Bell Jar


Professor Rae explores Hernando de Soto’s theories of dead and live capital and the power of property rights. According to de Soto, informal property must carefully be integrated into the formal property system. Professor Rae presents the example of Baltimore’s row house vacancy problem, and the difficulties in designing and implementing innovative property policies when existing interests of local stakeholders are firmly entrenched. The Coase theorem and transaction costs are revisited. Professor Rae also facilitates a discussion with students on how a developing country should most productively invest 5% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Complexities of economic development are explored.

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Capitalism: Success, Crisis, and Reform

PLSC 270 - Lecture 16 - Braudel's Bell Jar

Chapter 1. Introduction and Class Agenda [00:00:00]

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Today what I’d like to do is focus first on de Soto, and then on the larger question — you have your informal property back, Jennifer — and then on the larger question of what’s the point of all this? What is the merit of capitalism? We know a lot of things that capitalism isn’t really great at, and we know that it has — if you let it run its own course, it is inclined toward instability and it is inclined toward stupendous disruption of the planet. Yet, I for one, am a guarded enthusiast for capitalism. The underlying point of it must have something to do with helping people to have a fuller capacity to lead their lives. You might call it a practical freedom. The subject for today and for next Monday bring that out, that is, today with de Soto and I’m going to call on several of you to think about how you would use 5% of the GDP of a country to do as much good as possible, and then on Monday, The White Tiger, which illustrates, quite powerfully, that increasing the average income or wealth in a country can be a wonderful thing, but seen from the very bottom cannot be so great. The protagonist in The White Tiger is a brilliant articulator, if you will, of that problem.

Chapter 2. De Soto’s Policy Program, Bridge and Fitting Formal to Informal Property Regimes [00:02:10]

Okay, so the photograph in front of you is meant to call forth de Soto’s idea of Braudel’s bell jar, and the foreground, a vast favela is all informal property, and because it’s informal property it is dead capital, and the background is not only live capital and formal property, but extremely dense piling up of live capital. It is an expression of intense economic activity and presumably, for the most part, of great economic success. De Soto, on pages 160 and 161 has — first of all he has some typeface there that is small enough that I can’t read it, and my guess is, many of you will struggle to read it. But at the top of the page he has a bridge showing his prescription for the path from dead capital on the left to live capital on the right. Across the top, the roadway, if you will, is the commercial strategy, the creation of businesses, the taking of debt in order to create new enterprises. Then the process by which de Soto and his disciples first map out the problem, and then engage in a political and legal strategy to create the framework for formalized property all the way to the bottom of society, and then the operational strategies whereby that is implemented, a neighborhood at a time, a favela at a time. De Soto is deadly serious about this, and it’s a practical enterprise. I’m going to Peru at the end of term to sit in on an attempt by de Soto and his fellows to formalize a set of neighborhoods around a city, and I hope to write a business case that will be used in this course a year from now on that trip.

Now if you take the totality of de Soto’s book, the only thing worse than leaving informal property informal, from his point of view, is force fitting a formalized system invented in a university onto an existing system of informal property. I’d like to talk about that with you or a few minutes and give you a case from my own experience in an American setting. Well informal property, these are boundaries in an imaginary informal property system, which correspond to the ingrained habits and customs of the people who own this property, and their inclination will be always to defend it against change imposed arbitrarily from outside. If you ask smart professors at The Yale School of Management, what’s the most efficient way to lay out the boundaries of property, they’ll give you something like the red grid here, with right angles and straight lines. Right angles and straight lines have a brilliant history in American property law. President Jefferson laid out a grid like this on all but the northeast corner of the U.S., of longitude and latitude lines defining sections of 640 acres, and the whole development of the American West is actually on — with the exception of the mountainous areas, for example, The Sierra Nevadas. With that exception the whole country looks like this rec — rectalinear grid, and as you fly from coast to coast, you can see the grid laid out in a perfectly symmetrical way, with center pivot irrigation interrupting the grid from time to time, and an occasional river.

The better way, according to de Soto, is to adapt formal systems to fit informal systems; to incrementally add the perimeter meets and bounds shown here, and ultimately to convert the old boundaries to new boundaries, the old boundaries being recognized only by people living within this little area; the new boundaries being recognized all the way up to the nation’s state level; and in theory, all the way up to the world level, if people from another country are engaged in a property transaction. For example, if the owner of this land seeks to take debt from a bank in New York and the property is in Peru, the whole world system is involved in the formalization, and the obligation of the Peruvian government to honor a contract with an American bank would come into play. And so even at the very lowest level, the ultimate chain of connections to the top level of government on a world scale is important.

Chapter 3. Case: Baltimore Row House Swap Scheme [00:08:50]

Nearly twenty years ago, a fellow named Kurt Schmoke, Yale class of 1970, and sometimes senior fellow of The Yale Corporation, was Mayor of Baltimore. I didn’t actually have him as a student here but I was working then on cities that had too much housing, which I called “under crowded cities.” You read all the city planning books from that period, it’s all about how do we handle all this new population that has to be housed, and of course the real story for a city like Baltimore, was a vast housing surplus. Anybody come from Baltimore? I’ll settle for Washington or Philadelphia, or Wilmington, what have we got in the back there? What city?

Student: Washington.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay can you — can you give us a feel for what a neighborhood constructed of row houses looks like? How it’s organized.

Student: Well I can tell you about Baltimore because I see it on the train. It looks like all the houses are boarded up, all the backyards are trashed, and there’s a lot of vacancy and just desolate wasteland.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, it’s still a mess, right?

Student: Yeah.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Which means I was not very effective, and Mayor Schmoke was not very effective. The difficulty with — row houses are what the economists call an inferior good. The standard Baltimore row house is nine feet wide, the widest are 16 feet wide, so it’s like living in a railroad car, or in — if it’s a tall one, two or three railroad cars stacked on top of each other. By and large, people prefer ranch houses, which are more — which more nearly approximate a square layout. People also don’t like living around visible signs of decay like the ones just described. When I came on the scene, this is a very abstract representation, but the green dots represent — the squares represent property units and the green dots represent occupied units, the yellow dots represent units that are still standing but condemned, and the blank units represent areas where the house has been torn down. There’s no precision in what I’m doing here but it’ll show you the difficulty of trying to change something for the better. I didn’t even know de Soto’s work at this time, but I was acting on the same general intuitions that he has; that we’re at the edge of the bell jar — this slide’s just in the wrong place, but the red line is the edge of the bell jar.

One solution to missing properties is to install waterfalls; this was done as a joke by a student at Johns Hopkins. It didn’t involve any actual water or construction; it’s just a photographic joke. Another approach, and it’s the one that I advocated, is to triage neighborhoods and to take a neighborhood like this where you have very few occupied units, most of what’s there standing is condemned, and lots of vacant lots. To say let’s find a way to use the wealth of people living here to improve conditions in a more promising adjacent neighborhood. The first thought is that you take down the condemned houses in the unworkable area, and at the same time, you offer swaps where you buy for what it’s worth, which is not a lot, you buy houses in the unworkable area from people, and part of their payment is clear title to a similar space in a more promising and nearby neighborhood. There is a — we’re creating a market here that has a barter element in it, land and a small cash payment, and an effort to facilitate the financing of replacement housing.

So after the people make those moves, this is theory, you get a much denser occupancy grid in the top, and you get some benefit from that; one benefit is that crime generally goes down. A neighborhood which is mostly vacant lots is an invitation to criminal activity. The statistics on this area in Baltimore, and it had hundreds of areas like this one, the crime statistics are brutal. Another fact is that the administration of public services is wildly inefficient where only a few houses in a neighborhood have trash to take away, where streets need to be plowed and cleaned, even when very few people use them and where police services are stretched extremely thin. The idea is to densify one area at the expense of another, and then to demolish and replace the condemned houses in the stronger neighborhood and you’ve made some progress. Well the first thing that — what’s the first objection that comes to mind? What do you do with this? This now vacant area, what do you do with it? Anybody got a suggestion? Sasha?

Student: Make it a park.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Make it a park, that’s good, and it could be a park with a huge lake in it, lakes are much easier to administer than — you don’t have to mow lakes, and crime is relatively scarce — aquatic crime is, as far as I know, rare. Or in some places, you make it a golf course. There’s a place in Miami where they’ve created a zone where they’ve just — it just grows wildly, it’s largely bamboo and there’s a 12-foot fence around it, and the thought is that 50 years from now somebody will figure out what to do with it. That’s one problem, but there’s another set of problems that are even tougher, and that is that all these neighborhoods have leaders. Leaders are not really very generous about having you take their followers away. People who are say Aldermen, or people who are head of a neighborhood development board, or of a neighborhood crime watch, they all come forward and they say, “This is madness! These people live in perfectly good houses where they are,” and the ultimate effect is to drive the transaction costs through the ceiling. The cost of getting the deals made is astronomically high. It’s a perfect illustration of why the Coase theorem is serious, because if the transaction costs are high enough, even obviously beneficial to all sides swaps, just don’t happen. De Soto is dealing with environments in which transaction costs are extremely high, in which the difficulty of getting things like this done are — is just very, very great. It’s fine for you and I to read this elegant little book, but that’s very different from actually accomplishing things on the street, so that this triangular relationship between imaginary leaders would become a dominant obstacle to completion of the task.

Chapter 4. Coase Theorem Revisited and the De Soto-Coast Grid [00:19:11]

Back to Coase. The thesis, as you will remember, is that where there are clear cut entitlements, a high degree of transparency and symmetrical transparency, and low transaction costs, efficient swaps are feasible. And on the surface de Soto is all about clear entitlement. He’s perfectly aware that without being able to execute economic transactions, for example, borrowing against a clear entitlement, very little has been accomplished. That if corruption, for example, interdicts transparency, those transactions won’t happen, or if they do they will be the wrong transactions. One way to think about how to use de Soto practically is to take the three conditions from this simplified version of the Coase theorem and put them in a table with relatively practical categories that you can deal with, and then look for ways in which, for example, education might impact transparency and so on. I’m going to — what I want to do is proceed much less formally than this. The chart is kind of — it’s a very rigid framework, it’s not a bad framework, but it’s a rigid one. Now have some of you thought about how you’d spend 5% of the GDP of a country? Wave if you have. I’ve got one, two — more — one, two — no one in this section? Three — no one’s fessing up in the front row here. Over here? Okay we’re going to — there we are in the back — so we’re going to do some winging here, I’m afraid. That’s okay. Now Leslie, will you trade me places? There’s some chalk — now what — the exercise is to figure out if we can create large increments in useful wealth by spending money. Tom is it? What have we got?

Student: I think its education is sort of the key to everything else.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay you would put education ahead of any — of all things?

Student: All other things.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, help us understand why.

Student: Because I think that having human capital can increase your investment on everything else, but without that, you’re not going to have the people that you need to build roads, or expand property rights or all these other things that de Soto talks about.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay so education, a relatively well-educated populous is a necessary condition, is that what you’re saying?

Student: Absolutely.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay are there any necessary conditions to a well-educated population?

Student: Well-educated teachers I think would be better.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay so we have to have well-educated teachers. Are there any other things we probably need? Yes.

Student: [Inaudible] food and water.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Food, running clean water, electricity, all the infrastructure — you buy that Tom?

Student: Sure.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay so education was expensive to begin with, and now it’s looking more expensive, so we’re probably going to need more than 5% of GDP to get very far with that but that’s a good thing. Tal?

Student: The other problem with education is that, unless the opportunity costs of the education for those workers are not extremely high, they’re not going to go school. The kids will end up trying to make as much money as they can to support their families, and so would not end up actually educating the populous.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Absolutely, spot on. There’s an incident in White Tiger which is exactly about that, where the uncle comes and drags our protagonist away from school because his labor has been exchanged in a family deal. Yes, back?

Student: There’s also a cultural problem, like certain societies don’t want females to go to school, so there’s something deeper than just opportunity costs at work there that must be dealt with in other ways.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: I’m sure you’re right. Can you give a specific example?

Student: Well I was watching a movie and it was about Indian societies in which women are not allowed to go to school, and the figure in the movie, the leading hero, was actually based on a real life figure who went into the village and convinced all these different families to let their children go to school, because it would be better for them in the long run, but not based on opportunity costs but basically trying to change their cultural, kind of closedness.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: What’s behind this prohibition on educating women do you suppose?

Student: I think it’s partly to do with the males.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: I’ll bet on that, you think?

Student: I know that in certain families as well, like the female cannot be more educated then the male. In marriages —

Professor Douglas W. Rae: A precept I certainly believe in.

Student: Sometimes a family believes that if their females are too educated, then they won’t be able to marry them off, or something like that.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, that’s terrific thank you. Yes?

Student: You also need infrastructure in place, and laws in an economy in place for what they’re going to do after they go to school. In Cuba they have fantastic education but no opportunities for anyone after that’s finished, so for education to be effective you also have to invest in, sort of like, the next step.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, so for education to be effective we have to have a next step. Is the Cuban example one you know well?

Student: I wouldn’t say I know it well. That scares me; I don’t want you to ask me a question I don’t know.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Well can you — I mean I’ve got a couple of — I’ve been to Cuba a couple of times and I have a couple of Cuba stories that could fill in the blank, but how about you try it first.

Student: I tried to go to Cuba, but I didn’t get a visa, so I don’t know it as well as I would. They have — well it has a lot to do with the communist/socialist model. There’s just no — there just aren’t any jobs, there aren’t any — so if you’re educated as a lawyer you just end up being, like, a taxi driver no matter what.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, good. There’s a — I have friend whom I met in Havana, who was sort of top five among the fishery scientists in Cuba, PhD in biology, and he was — he kept giving the wrong advice. After the Russians pulled out in the so-called special period, the government wanted to double, and double, and double the harvest of shrimp, and there are limits on the ecosystem, and he kept saying, “You can’t do it,” and finally they declared him unemployable. And the effect of that was that he became a taxi driver and trebled his income. It was still a very low income, but it trebled what he was making as a scientist. Hands over here, yes?

Student: One of the downsides of education is brain drain. You put all your resources into educating people but there are better opportunities in other countries for them to go work, make money, and stay there, so if you are going to put education as your main emphasis you need to have some sort of incentive within your own country to have people remain.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, Tom do you want to answer that?

Student: I agree that’s a problem but I think it’s maybe less of a problem then it first appears, because of remittances, or even in cases of brain drain where people are — get well educated and go be doctors in America rather than in India, they’re still going to send a percentage of that money home in the form of remittances which can do a lot in itself to prop up an economy.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: In the back.

Student: So I won’t take all the credit for this, Richard has been convincing me by degrees as this goes on, I think, I mean, you’d rather have 100% of that income in your country, and the way to get that would be through, for instance, creating pools of capital in your country through direct foreign investment and then the way you would get that is through investments and infrastructure and security.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, now we’re — we have veered a long way from education when we talk about direct foreign investment. Would you put that as a high priority?

Student: Higher than education, because I think that that comes, but I think you need to be able to give people jobs and a livelihood before you can think about educating them.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay what do you think Tom?

Student: I think you’re sort of endorsing the idea of offering your country up as — to be colonialized more or less, in saying that well the best thing that we can do to spur our own economic growth is to offer ourselves as an extractive nation, and we’ll build the roads for people to come in, and take out what they need, and I don’t know if that’s the solution for long term economic growth. That’s how I would read that interpretation.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Richard?

Student: I think in the long run in order to build sustainable growth in your country, if you’re starting off where you don’t have any of this infrastructure or educational facilities in place, you have to find some sort of competitive advantage. At the initial standpoint that’s going to be your labor, that’s going to be your resources, anything you can offer up that’s going to attract investment to build out the rest of these different pillars of what you need in society. You can’t just start off with, here’s the school and we’re going to educate people and they’re going to keep all the value within society, they’re going to capitalize on it, there’s not an incentive based to really do that. So until you can actually move up the ladder of competitive advantage and development of your markets and education, and quality of life, it’s sort of putting the cart before the horse in my opinion.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay. Now what’s fairly obvious in this conversation is that you’ve got to try to do more than one thing at once. If we just say education full stop, or if we say, foreign direct investment full stop, we’re not going to get it done and there has to be a complex spiral of these things. This is why the book by Clark that we read is so unpersuasive on this point, because it takes one thing at a time and then says, well that won’t do it and it’s the spiraling of several things at once. Shoshanna, back there.

Student: I think the problem goes back to the question at hand because with 5% of GDP you really can’t — I think the problem goes back to the question at hand because you can’t really do much with 5% of your GDP so people are more likely to create this false dichotomy of options just because they have limited resources.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, but if this were a real exercise and you had control over 5% of the GDP of Cuba or Peru, or Nigeria what would you do? You’ve got the 5% what’s the first thing you better figure out?

Student: I think you have to focus on getting basic resources and developing a basic structure, so you may have to forfeit your emphasis on education immediately.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, but what I’m driving at is that you would want to look at what’s already happening the right way. You would want to, say, if there are — if there are twelve conditions we’re worried about, you’d want to survey and figure out that there were three or four where you could ride somebody else’s dollar so to speak. Then you would figure out some crucial set of others that you would have to pay your attention to, does that sound right?

Student: I think that’s fair. I think the problem lies in — I was focusing on central Asian countries when you gave us this mini assignment, and the problem comes when you devote everything to foreign direct investment, when do you stop? When do you transition back to meeting all those other criteria that you laid out in the beginning?

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, so it sounds like this is a pretty complicated subject. Richard?

Student: I apologize. I wanted to clarify what we were — our point was which is by attracting foreign investment the idea is that is not mutually exclusive, so instead of taking a limited 5% of GDP and allocating it towards one aspect of society, if you can signal to the broader markets that you’re an attractive investment place you’ve now grown that pool of capital such that it can be invested through all the different aspects of what you need to build society as opposed to cherry picking one over another. That’s the goal of attracting multiple investors.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: One of — so the one thing that we’re at least clear about is that there is no secret sauce, there’s no one secret sauce that is going to get this job done. It’s vastly more complex. Now who — did you have your hand up a moment ago?

Student: I think it’s [inaudible].

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Been covered?

Student: I think it has.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay. Who will give us a fresh start with a —

Student: I was going to say that what de Soto keeps emphasizing is the importance of political leadership, and what he forgets is that in many of these developing countries, the political leadership itself is very corrupt, and it’s not within the leadership’s best interest to move the society forward, so I thought that empowering education would give us better leaders that would follow de Soto’s ideas of transforming debt capital [inaudible].

Professor Douglas W. Rae: So you and Tom are playing the same tune, more or less?

Student: Yes.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Same tune, slightly different rationale.

Student: Yeah.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay good.

Student: I was just about to add to that with an example, actually, of a Kosovo case that I had experienced this summer. When I was in Kosovo they had a hard time attracting leaders because most of them fled as refugees in the 1999 war, so the USAID program had invested, instead of like this foreign direct investment project, there are projects in that as well, but a professional studies course that educates leaders, particularly in finance and investments and these sorts of things, so it’s bringing the brain drain back — like back into the country, and investing in leaders instead of — so then once they have an efficient leadership base they can go out and do these things themselves.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Did I just hear you say that MBA education is the most important thing in the world?

Student: Wouldn’t that be nice.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Thanks. Who would — are there — why am I doing that? Who would start us with an entirely different starting point, yes?

Student: I don’t know how you would do this with 5% of the GDP but I think if there were secret sauce it would be efficiency and low transaction costs. This is coming from my experience in Latin America, which, I’ve worked there and I’ve traveled there, and I don’t even understand how they do business there ever, because it’s so inefficient. Like down to little things, like I know in Buenos Aries they don’t have enough coins but you can only pay with coins to ride the bus, but there’s a shortage of coins, and so sometimes you just can’t get on the bus because you have cash but you don’t have coins. It’s little things like that, but I don’t know how you would — like where you would even begin to invest to make those things more efficient, but I think the foreign direct investment and the competitive advantage flow from that. You’re not going to be a good candidate unless you have low transaction costs within the country.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay. What I think I hear you saying is that you’ve got to get the Coase theorem working?

Student: Right and that has something to do with corruption, or a lot to do with corruption of the government, and the legal system.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, good. Yes?

Student: A couple of things that I’d do here. If you’re getting 5% of the GDP, one thing that we should keep in mind is that we can assume that the economy will go on forever, so I would not spend 5% of the GDP in that way given here. I’d divide it over a number of years. The second is that the money that I’d be getting, I would not leave a penny in the hands of the government. I would give it to the private sector and ear market a thousand villages and ask the private sector to use that money in that thousand villages. The next year, based on their performances, the second allotment that I would get out of that 5% of the GDP would be again given to the private companies who have performed well. Now I’ll leave it up to them how do they want to develop the villages, it can be a holistic development, it can be incomplete development, it can be corrupt development, but the second year’s resources would be only going on the basis of the quality of the development.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay so what you want to do is put as much rocket fuel as you can in the rockets that are already moving?

Student: Exactly, but make sure that the rockets — the next year the rockets move based on the performance of the rockets.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay and if you were a public official would there be some problem about that do you imagine?

Student: A lot of problems.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Right, because the natural tendency is to redistribute from the functioning rockets to the non-functioning rockets. The axiom we saw twenty times earlier in term about how a defining characteristic of capitalism is that failing enterprises fail, right, and that’s one of the ways capitalism becomes a learning machine. You are a cruel but wise man. Yes?

Student: In many ways, this is I guess the — sort of the opposite of the last comment, but you could also see some validity to the point of using that money to try to improve government capacity in a sense, because, as we’ve been discussing, the government is really a strong point for creating the stability needed for investment in other parts of the economy. So if there was some way to, say, use the money to increase the reach of the government into more rural regions of the country, or to create secure borders, things like that. I think that that could have a potentially positive effect, and it’s sort of a more direct and centralized use of it, so it might be a little bit easier. Obviously you run into problems with corruption in government and, not that that’s minor.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay. That’s a very plausible thought, where you have a weak state which doesn’t have the ability to actually enforce the law or to carry out policy in an effective way, say, in rural areas. Think of Western China or large chunks of Afghanistan, or nearly all of Somalia; strengthening the state if you’ve got the right incentives for the people who benefit directly from the increment of power. You’ve got to have the right people there with the right incentives, and if you have the wrong people and the wrong incentives, you’re actually going to make things worse. Tal.

Student: I sort of have two different — very different ideas. One that’s sort of bottom up and one that’s sort of top down, from two different parts of the world. The first one that’s sort of bottom up would build on the work of, sort of, micro finance, especially in India and countries like that, where we’ve seen that if you give entrepreneurs, even at the village level, some basic capital they can — even based on their dead capital, sort of, they can turn it into live capital themselves, especially women. And if you can focus on that you can maybe build up sort of a local economy that’s sustainable in its own right, and not just sort of at the whim of FDI.

At the same time, to use a part of the world that I’m a little more familiar with, Israel — my parents are from Israel, I spent a good deal of time there, used to be — it was built up on the Kibbutz system, socialist system, and had many of the same problems of the former Communist nations almost at first, and then transitioned into a much more capitalist market oriented economy, one that is arguably quite strong. Part of the way that was accomplished was, as much as it pains me to say, through state sponsored enterprise much in the way that China accomplished it. In the sort of building up of basic utilities and infrastructure and the companies that served the people’s needs for those and then sort of spread outwards and actually turning that informal sort of communal property into individual property and live capital.

Professor Douglas W. Rae: Okay, let’s stop and take stock here for a minute. We’ve heard a dozen or fifteen points of view, every single one of them intelligent, and no single one of them any major fraction of an answer. There is some pattern of webbing together different strategies and of custom fitting those strategies to the circumstance of actual countries and actual cultures, anfd actual governmental systems, and actual infrastructure systems. We’ve said very little so far today about infrastructure, and arguably trains, planes, harbors, all that should be an important, at least late stage and very possibly middle stage, element in a strategy.

Next time we’re — our text is The White Tiger, and I would like to be able to call on you to bring forth the anecdotes from White Tiger because we’re going to use it as follows: the circumstances described in this brilliant novel are almost invariably circumstances that are destructive of wealth formation, and so think about the events which happen in the book, and then, in class, we’re going to flip them on their heads, so to speak, and talk about what might be beneficial to the protagonist, and more generally, to village India, and village Indians who come, in the language of the book, out of the darkness into the cities. I’ll show you a short film clip of a company called SELCO, which is in the business of making off-grid electric lighting for village India. Then before the end of term you’ll see a full business case about this company. It’s a for-profit company, and it depends on micro finance to sell lighting. There are many parts of India where there just isn’t any artificial lighting and the — it’s quite an inspiring and interesting case. So I’ll see you on Monday and if you haven’t yet read every last page of White Tiger I’d do it over the weekend.

[end of transcript]

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