|'Give a man secure possession of a bleak rock and he will turn it into a garden; give him nine years' lease of a garden and he will
turn it into a desert.'' So wrote Arthur Young in his Travels of 1787. People look after what they own, and neglect what they
are forced to share.
From privatization to the patent system, Young's point is repeatedly shown to be true. But now the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has written an astonishing book called The Mystery of Capital that makes a bold, new argument about property.