In an extremely important speech the other day, President Bush threw down the gauntlet to M. Chavez. You want to talk about “social justice”? We’ll show you the way to social justice. You want to talk about the poor? We’ll show you the only really successful way to liberate the poor from poverty ever discovered during the long history of the human race.
The President called it “capitalism for the campesino” — capitalism that begins at the bottom up. What Guy Sorman, the French writer, called “barefoot capitalism” just a few years back. How? By such methods as Hernando de Soto talks about, first, in changing laws to make possible — and far more frequent — the formation of new small businesses by the poor (almost all of whom are entrepreneurs, as de Soto found); and, second, in recognizing, protecting, and monetizing property rights in homes, so that the capital represented in them can be unleashed through mortgages.
Against the swampy tide of yet another socialism rising from the deep in South America, the President offered the light and sun of the rule of law, transparency, and universal inclusion of the campesinos in the dynamism of the market system.
Why not? The same forces, unleashed in China and India since 1980, have raised more than a half-billion persons out of poverty — the fastest exodus from poverty of any poverty program in the past.
Capitalism for the campesinos works. No form of socialism ever put into exercise even comes close.
Come on, Mr. Chavez. Put up, or shut up.
At stake is the liberation of the poor.
Don’t miss the President’s speech. It’s important.