In this, his classic book on the informal economy of Peru and the reasons why poverty can be a breeding ground for terrorists, Hernando De Soto describes the forces that keep people dependent on underground economies: the bureaucratic barriers to legal property ownership and the lack of legal structures that recognize and encourage ownership of assets. It is exactly these forces, de Soto argues, that prevent houses, land, and machines from functioning as capital does in the West--as assets that can be leveraged to create more capital. Under the Fujimori government, de Soto's Institute for Liberty and Democracy wrote dozens of laws to promote property rights and bring people out of the informal economy and into the legitimate one. The result was not only an economic boon for Peru but also the defeat of the Shining Path, the terrorist movement and black-market force that was then threatening to take over the Peruvian government. In a new preface, de Soto relates his work to the present moment, making the connection between the Shining Path in the 1980's and the Taliban today.
Right after being born in Saudi Arabia, I was taken to the Callen house. Since then, Bryan and I have travelled the world with our Citibank fathers and somehow ended up in LA together. There we'd run into each other at family gatherings and do something that no one else in LA seemed to be doing: we talked about books. Since Bryan was kind of a big deal, Hunter and Bryan hatched a scheme to use his podcast to get on their favorite authors and professors. Out of that evolved Mixed Mental Arts and this tribe. For me, the marriage of entertainment and education is a return to how things used to be before our culture split story into two separate things. It's exciting to be able to build on the work Katie O'Brien and I did for The Straight-A Conspiracy and expand it out to every area of life. While I play a series of roles in the Mixed Mental Arts community (including Shitty Dutch Uncle and Bryan's #1 fan) my favorite role is as Toto who pulls back the curtain and let's the world see that there are no wizards...only men and women who try and puff themselves up to seem important.