Institutionalliberalism is a theory that asserts that emphasis should be placed oninternational organizations and global governance when trying toexplain international relations. According to institutionalism,International organizations have powers to get states to cooperationby setting common goals in the international system (Jackson &Sorensen 107) . This form of liberalism creates a boundary betweeneconomics and state power. The documentary “The Power of the Poor”by De Soto focuses on institutional liberalism which is evident fromthe topics he tackles. This paper will explore the aspect ofliberalism explored by De Soto in his documentary and how at somepoint he contradicts himself.
Heexplores the idea of the capitalist system, which isinstitution-based and how most citizens have been locked out of theregime by the institutions in control as well as the laws. He furtherargues that approximately 2/3 of the total population thrive inpoverty without drinking water, little electricity and sewers despitetheir hard work. The poor, who in most cases live in shanty places,have spent their lives outside the set economic mainstream.Additionally, he documents that the poor have been shut from thecapitalist system in that it takes centuries for them to acquire alegal title to their land or open a business legally, which is notthe case with the wealthy (Jackson & Sorensen 107).
Onthe other hand, De Soto contradicts himself by bringing in the aspectof economic transnationalism. This is evident where he states themigrations that are taking place in an attempt to search for betterlives. The poor are in a constant movement from farms to urban areasand from poorer to richer states. He further argues that since thepoor have realized that the formal economy is no longer favoringthem, they have come up with their economy that is completely againstthe official economic system. They have set their rules and processesthat guide them. De Soto posits that unless the drivers of the legal,economic system come up with ways to make globalization andcapitalism accessible to the poor, then the formal system will bebrought down as it has been done previously (Jackson & Sorensen107).
Conclusively,De Soto’s documentation reveals the power of the weak in bringingdown the system once they feel it is not serving them well. Thepeople locked out from the legal, economic system set up their rulesand processes hence forming their ‘small state’ in the nation.Therefore, the government should ensure institutional liberalismbenefits both poor and the rich to avoid the alternatives set by the‘locked out population,` which consequently brings the governmentdown.
Jackson,Robert, and Georg Sørensen. Introductionto international relations: theories and approaches.Oxford University Press, 2016.