Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto wrote a book in 2003 called the Mystery of Capital. In it he espoused the theory that many countries don’t take off economically because without private property, would-be entrepreneurs can’t borrow money to start businesses. According to a recent item in Fortune, Colin Barr presents a related idea about the relationship between housing and jobs in our current economy. As it turns out, home equity loans are also a key source of financing for small businesses in the U.S. According to the article, bank economists say an improvement in housing is necessary because so much job creation is driven by new businesses that have in recent years been financed in part by home equity borrowing. If, as expected, housing prices continue their decline, improvement in the job picture may just be put on hold.