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How to get rich

A strong yet flexible state is handy. A binding legal system is essential. But democracy? Not necessary, especially in developing countries

By Deepak Lal   March 2001

My most memorable experience on a trip to Peru in the early 1980s was the “markets tour” organised by the Institute of Liberty and Democracy in Lima. This showed the path that the typical poor migrant from the Andes took in the metropolis. Travelling across Lima one got a living picture of the process: how migrants organised “invasions” of public land to build their shacks with pilfered supplies of electricity and water, and eked out a living in “informal” activities, including whole illegal covered markets the size of shopping malls. The striking thing was the enterprise of poor people and…

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