December 10, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - Braudel's Bell Jar

The “bell jar” metaphor comes from French historian Fernand Braudel. It was referenced by de Soto in The Mystery of Capital. The metaphor addresses the question of "why at its inception Western capitalism served only a privileged elite much the way it does in developing countries today."

Yale, professor Douglas W. Rae, continues his exploration of capitalism, a system of which he describes himself as a guarded supporter, although it seems he pretty strongly supports it:

Professor Rae explores Hernando de Soto's theories of dead and live capital and the power of property rights. According to de Soto, informal property must carefully be integrated into the formal property system. Professor Rae presents the example of Baltimore's row house vacancy problem, and the difficulties in designing and implementing innovative property policies when existing interests of local stakeholders are firmly entrenched.

There's an interesting exchange of ideas between students later in the video from about 37:30 to about 41 minutes.  There's some irony and sadness in the two differing positions arguing investing in government versus the private sector.  One student gets it, the other doesn't.

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