Peru has begun a new program aimed at lifting citizens out of poverty. Community activist Honorata Huaman does not possess the title for the three-story house she is building in Lima, Peru. Having legal documentation would protect property rights and grant access to a number of opportunities.
Elsa Mancha is a single mother who has been living on $2 a day since moving to Lima. Hernando de Soto argues that the poor are unknowingly sitting on “dead capital” and that legal property rights could help lift them economically.
Villa Maria residents feel tension as they await legal documents. The Peruvian government has shortened the time it takes to register a business. Carlos Cabanillas describes related growth in Villa el Salvador, which was once an illegal settlement.
Michael Reid discusses the availability of capital, education, and other factors that prevent many Peruvians from benefiting from the country’s recent success. De Soto believes legalizing property ownership can help the poor can access credit. Willard Vargas describes perks and disadvantages of going legitimate.
Residents of Villa Maria have been waiting for news on property titles; Huaman delivers good news to Mancha. Reid describes signs that would indicate the program is making a dent in poverty. The global crisis created by the housing bubble underscores the importance of property rights.
Credits: Property Ladder
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Homes offer more than just shelter for middle class and rich families; they are assets that can be used as collateral, to build wealth. But what is the value of shacks and shanty town houses? Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that one way to bring the poor into the mainstream economy is to liberate the collateral in their homes by giving them proper, legal titles. We travel to Peru to talk to assess the impact of de Soto's ideas. We meet two women who are desperate to become "legal" and look at whether government reforms have lifted up the poor. Can property rights to shanty town homes really provide a way out of poverty?
Length: 21 minutes
Copyright date: ©2009
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