It’s a universal truth that shelter is a basic human need. For the rich the mortgages and loans around them offer more than just a roof over their head, it makes them assets, collateral, it makes them part of the formal economy. But what is the value of shacks and shanty town houses? Hernando de Soto is an economist and one of Peru’s most famous exports. He’s argued that one way to get the poor out of poverty is to bring them into the mainstream economy, to liberate the collateral in the homes by giving them proper legal title to it. We travel to Peru to talk to Hernando de Soto and visit the projects to ask what the effect has been. We meet two women desperate to become ‘legal’, and look at whether this lift up to the first rung of the property ladder has worked for the poor. Can property rights on shanty town houses really provide a way out of poverty?
Part of a 5 x 25-minute documentary series produced for the BBC. These films can be bought individually or as a series.