The Wild, Wild West

Hernando De Soto calls underutilized capital Dead Capital. How does a society go from no legal property rights to proper legal structures that transform dead capital into working capital? Picture the Wild West in the United States 150 years ago. It was a developing country to say the least. They were trying to grapple with the law and disorder of migrants, squatters, gold diggers, armed gangs, illegal entrepreneurs and the rest of the characters that made the West wild.

Americans had already been settling and improving the land for centuries. Politicians gradually adopted what was there and made it officially legal and set up systems to resolve conflict over land. This allowed the assets of these settlers to become primed to be used as capital. There were many bumps along the way, but it can be done. Property systems open to all citizens are a recent development. It has just happened in the last 200 years. All was accomplished for the purpose of putting land in the hands of private citizens (DeSoto).

This is one of the main differences between the Biblical Worldview and the Socialistic Worldview. In socialism the land and property is held in common and private ownership is discouraged or outlawed. A lot of property law is based on the simple concepts that come from the ten commandments. Thou shalt not steal(what is your neighbors or on their land) and thou shalt not covet(desire what is your neighbors). Private ownership of land is a practical path forward for most Christians to experience Biblical Prosperity.

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