Class – day 2

Today was much the same as yesterday. Class today was taught again by Professor McGee and we discussed the role of government in society and the economy. Along with this, we discussed market failures and how much government should step in. Examples include monopolies, public goods and public resources.

Some of the current examples discussed are public education, healthcare and infrastructure. To what extent is government responsible and to what extent do we want government involvement?

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The field trip today was to the Hernando de Soto Institute – the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. Their focus is to assist with personal and business property rights, assisting the poor to try and better their situations. Our presenter, the CFO of the ILD, discussed the term “extralegality”, which de Soto coined to describe the parallel system that forms when poor individuals are not protected by economic laws and end up forming their own systems for buying/selling/trading goods and services.

Two-thirds of the world population live in poverty and have no legal identity. This extralegal existence prohibits them from being able to improve their situation.

Recent examples of work the institute has done include work in both Ethiopia and Haiti. The ILD has done work in 25 different countries throughout the world. The ILD works by forming a training team that will got to a country in need of assistance, help to create a local team that can then work to create reform policies that will help the people of that country to prosper. The ILD is also contracted by country governments to assist in needed reforms.

Our presentation at the ILD included a video put together by PBS called The Power of the Poor with Hernandez de Soto. If you’re interested about the work of the ILD, you can see a promo for the video here.

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