Consider the Philippines, where it takes 168 steps and 13-25 years to formalize informal urban property. Or Egypt, where the procedure to gain access to desert land for construction and to register these property rights takes 6-14 years and 77 steps. Or Lima, Peru, where 728 bureaucratic steps must be braved, in order to obtain legal title to a home in a validated housing settlement.
The result of this madness? People build concrete and cinder block homes on land they do not own. People are forced to run their businesses illegally because running a legal business is impossible. And under those conditions, although these people have assets, they have no way of turning these assets into capital. Who would write a mortgage on a home built on land whose ownership cannot be determined? Who will finance the expansion of a business which exists only because the authorities have not yet gotten around to shutting it down? How can people escape from poverty, if access to the very basic legal system that capitalism requires is beyond their means.
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