For those who want to steer policy, however, there are underexploited opportunities other than just trying to make it in Washington, Brussels or Westminster. Adam Gurri wrote on Monday about the tail risk of social experimentation, focusing on the potentially disastrous outcomes of changes in policies or institutions. But one can easily draw the opposite lesson from his article — that there is a potential for spectacularly good social and economic outcomes triggered by seemingly trivial initial factors.
Technology is one such factor. With cheap, high‐accuracy GPS devices, communities of dwellers in underdeveloped countries with no legal titles can mutually recognize their property claims to land. Communities with well‐recognized informal titles can then be a strong political force urging the government to recognize people’s claims to land formally and reduce the risk expropriation, according to Peter F. Schaefer. This view turns on its head the conventional idea of land titling reforms as of a top‐down process instigated by the government but rather sees the recognition of property claims by the government as the ultimate result of a series of localized steps that are made possible through a combination of new technology and local activism.