Hernando de Soto

President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy,

One of Time magazines "Leaders for the New Millennium"; Expert on CSR"

English · Spanish

Hernando de Soto is currently President of the ILD —headquartered in Lima, Peru— considered by The Economist as one of the two most important think tanks in the world. Time magazine chose him as one of the five leading Latin American innovators of the century in its special May 1999 issue “Leaders for the New Millennium”, and included him among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004. In its 85th anniversary edition, Forbes named Mr.de Soto as one of 15 innovators “who will reinvent your future”. In January 2000, Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit, the German development magazine, described Mr. de Soto as one of the most important development theoreticians of the last millennium. In October 2005, over 20,000 readers of Prospect magazine of the UK and Foreign Policy of the US ranked him among the top 13 “public intellectuals” in the world from the magazines’ joint list of 100.

Hernando de Soto has served as an economist for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as President of the Executive Committee of the Copper Exporting Countries Organization (CIPEC), as CEO of Universal Engineering Corporation (Continental Europe’s largest consulting engineering firm), as a principal of the Swiss Bank Corporation Consultant Group, and as a governor of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank.

Currently, Mr.de Soto, together with his colleagues at the ILD, is focused on designing and implementing capital formation programs to empower the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and former Soviet Nations. Some 30 heads of state have invited him to carry out these ILD programs in their countries. He also co-chairs with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the Commission on Legal Empowerment for the Poor, and currently serves as honorary co-chair on various boards and organizations, including the World Justice Project.

Hernando de Soto has published two books about economic and political development: The Other Path, in the mid- 1980s, and at the end of 2000, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Both books have been international bestsellers – translated into some 20 languages.

Among the prizes he has received are The Freedom Prize (Switzerland), and The Fisher Prize (United Kingdom).

In 2002, he received The Goldwater Award (USA), The Adam Smith Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education (USA), and The CARE Canada Award for Outstanding Development Thinking (Canada).

In 2003, he received Downey Fellowship at Yale University, and the Democracy Hall of Fame International Award from the National Graduate University (USA).

In 2004, he was given The Templeton Freedom Prize (USA) and The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty (USA), as well as the Royal Decoration of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn, 5th Class, (Thailand).

In 2005, he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Buckingham (United Kingdom), The Americas Award (USA); he was also named the Most Outstanding of 2004 by the Peruvian National Assembly of Rectors, and received the Prize of Deutsche Stiftung Eigentum (PDF), the 2004 IPAE Award by the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration, the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award 2005 (USA), the BearingPoint, Forbes magazine’s seventh Compass Award for Strategic Direction, and was named as a “Fellow of the Class of 1930” by Dartmouth College.

In 2006, he received the 2006 Bradley Prize for outstanding achievement by the Bradley Foundation and the 2006 Economist Innovation Awards for outstanding work in economics.

In 2007, he has received The PODER BCG BUSINESS AWARDS 2007, granted by Poder Magazine and the Boston Consulting Group, for the “Best Anti-Poverty Initiative”. The anthology Die zwölf wichtigsten Ökonomen der Welt (The World’s Twelve Most Influential Economists, 2007) included his profile in a list that begins with Adam Smith. In November 3, 2007 he received the 2007 Humanitarian Award in recognition of his work to help poor people participate in the market economy.

In 2009, he was elected Honorary Member of the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College (Ireland). Also in 2009, he received the inaugural Hernando de Soto Award for Democracy awarded by the Center of International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in furthering economic freedom in Peru and throughout the developing world.

In 2010, the Friedrich A. von Hayek-Gesellschaft awarded him the Hayek Medal for his theories on liberal development policy (“market economy from below”) and for the appropriate implementation of his concepts by two Peruvian presidents. Also in 2010, the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzu International Research Centre in Italy awarded Mr. de Soto the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Cabinet (Council of Ministers) in recognition of his contribution toward the betterment of humankind and having worked for the future of the earth through his commitment.



Global Economic Landscape

Another Path for Capitalism

A Revolutionary Analysis of Capital

The Stickiness Factor

Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else

Economic Development and New Approaches to Empowering the Poor


"The hour of capitalism's greatest triumph," writes Hernando de Soto, "is, in the eyes of four-fifths of humanity, its hour of crisis." In The Mystery of Capital, the world-famous Peruvian economist takes up the question that, more than any other, is central to one of the most crucial problems the world faces today: Why do some countries succeed at capitalism while others fail?In strong opposition to the popular view that success is determined by cultural differences, de Soto finds that it actually has everything to do with the legal structure of property and property rights. Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly informal, extralegal ownership to a formal, unified legal property system. In the West we've forgotten that creating this system is also what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth. This persuasive book will revolutionize our understanding of capital and point the way to a major transformation of the world economy.


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