tn.,- j ^ . . . – – -nThe Other Path: The InvisiblenRevolution in the Third Worldnhy Hernando de SotonNew York: Harper & Row; 261 pp.n$22.95nAlthough subtitled The InvisiblenRevolution in the Third World,nHernando de Soto’s The Other Path isnas much revelatory as revolutionary.nFor one who has grappled with thenproblems of Third World development,nseeking to define and articulate ancertain truth sensed to be hidden beneathnthe muck of pseudoscientificnpolitical economic theory, The OthernPath is a profoundly refreshing expositionnof reality. But perhaps of greaternimportance, it is a moving testament tonthe indomitable spirit of the commonnman.nWhile The Other Path is a worthynaccount of the grass-roots entrepre-nTimothy Ashby is director of thenOffice of Mexico and the CaribbeannBasin at the Commerce Department.n20/CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnWMmm^.nW- “.’•’• /!^^- .,•• • __„^^fc^ ”^’-7.’.nfP”KÂ¥MS”’nThe Straight and Narrownby Timothy Ashbyn”Lessons are not given, they are taken.”n— Cesare Pavesenneurs of Peru, it could just as easily be anstudy of the “black market” or informalneconomic sector anywhere in thenworld. Immense underground economiesnexist in countries as diverse as thenSoviet Union, Italy, and Nigeria —nplaces where, de Soto says, “underdevelopmentnwas not a problem of peoplenbut of the system.” In a generalnsense, the problem in Peru as elsewherenis the state, or, more specifically,nan archaic and unbelievably byzantinenlegal system crafted to protect theninterests of the elite and punish thosenseeking upward mobility by makingnthem outlaws. The black market isntherefore a natural means of remedyingnan unnatural denial of humannaspirations.nHernando de Soto is a revolutionary.nHis work is sprinkled with thenterminology one associates with ThirdnWorld radicalism, from “the path tonliberation” to “the country’s structuresnmust be transformed.” Yet de Soto is anrevolutionary not of the left or of thenright but truly of the people. Cognizantnof the false appeals to the poor’snnnf Yf-n««<- 2^-,’nS^ i>o ;V Si^”nfrustration made by Marxist-Leninists,nhe seeks liberation through economicnempowerment rather than bloody insurrection.nThe very title of his book isna symbol of his opposition to communism,nfor The Other Path is offered asnthe only viable alternative to the ShiningnPath, Peru’s burgeoning Marxistnguerrilla movement. He warns thatn”the more the forces of change arenrepressed and the greater the level ofnunrest, the more likely it is that professionalnrevolutionaries will seize powernand impose totalitarian systems.”nDe Soto’s indictment of Marxism-nLeninism is equaled by his attack onnwhat he calls “Mercantilism.” Althoughnthe author’s definition of mercantilismndiffers somewhat from minen(I question whether “the raison d’etrenof the mercantilist state was to redistributenwealth according to its fiscal andnpolitical interests”), it neverthelessnserves as an approximate model fornmodern Peru and other statist politicalneconomies. De Soto is correct in statingnthat “Westerners often do notnrealize that their Latin Americann