Jonathan Wight summarizes Kay's thesis:
...if we wish to understand why Norway is rich and Nigeria is poor, the bottom line is "Rich states are the product of—literally—centuries of coevolution of civil society, politics, and economic institutions. [This is] a coevolution that we only partially understand and cannot transplant." ... Attempting to construct an ahistorical and acultural account of economic development in which the only institution that matters is "private property" is more than foolish—it is hazardous to the success of markets. ... [In some countries] institutions are ineffective or directed toward nonrelevant social and economic objectives (e.g., rent seeking). Because of idiosyncratic path dependencies, it is difficult to later simply say to Nigeria, "Go and imitate what Norway did with its oil wealth."
Author: Wight, Jonathan B.
Source: Southern Economic Journal; Jan2005, Vol. 71 Issue 3, p683, 3p
Document Type: Book Review
These are pessimistic but practical thoughts. You do not create a vibrant economy simply by saying the magic words "private property." If that's all the advice we as economists have to offer the results of the application of that advice will bring undeserved disrepute to markets.