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The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violenceby Gary Haugen A
Synopses & Reviews
World poverty is both an intractable and ever-mutable problem. It has afflicted humanity since the earliest times, but its basic features — aside from the constant, want — have evolved as history has moved from epoch to epoch. Today, there is broad recognition that a significant segment of the global population (the 'bottom billion,' to use Paul Collier's term) is impoverished despite the globalization of the world economy. Two questions — why destitution is so persistent despite massive global economic growth and what can be done about it — have animated debates among development scholars and poverty researchers for decades. Those who concentrate on the first question focus on the failure of anti-poverty efforts and typically stress why particular solutions on offer have not worked. Those addressing the second question have focused on either improving material conditions or on creating institutional frameworks (economic, social and political) that will allow the masses in poor countries to escape from poverty. Yet until now, virtually no one has addressed in a substantial way the most basic precondition for alleviating poverty: human safety. In most poverty-stricken areas of the world, violence is endemic. Whether it is generated by criminals who operate with complete abandon or by the state itself via predatory police forces, violence and threat of it have locked hundreds of millions of people into poverty.
Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros's The Locust Effect focuses on the central role of violence in perpetuating poverty, and shows that if any headway is to be made, this issue has to become a top priority for policymakers. Simply put, if people aren't safe, nothing else matters. Shipping grain to the poor, helping them vote, or assisting their efforts to start a farm is irrelevant. Whatever material improvements we provide will simply wash away in the face of the corrupt police forces, out-of-control, armies, private militias, organized criminals, and — not least — failed justice systems that plague poor countries. Throughout, the book will feature real-world stories ranging from Thailand to Bolivia to India to Nigeria that vividly depict how violence undercuts antipoverty efforts. While they argue that this violence is the fundamental issue facing the antipoverty movement, they do not merely identify the problem. They also draw from their experience running the International Justice Mission to show that ground-up efforts to reform legal and public justice systems can generate real, positive results. Sweeping in geographical scope and filled with unforgettable stories of individuals trapped within the mutually reinforcing cycle of poverty and violence, The Locust Effect will force us to rethink everything we know about the causes of poverty and why it is so difficult to root out.
A Washington Post bestseller
While the world has made encouraging strides in the fight against global poverty, there is a hidden crisis silently undermining our best efforts to help the poor.
It is a plague of everyday violence.
Beneath the surface of the world's poorest communities, common violence — like rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality — has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.
How has this plague of violence grown so ferocious? The answer is terrifying, and startlingly simple: There's nothing shielding the poor from violent people. In one of the most remarkable — and unremarked upon — social disasters of the last half century, basic public justice systems in the developing world have descended into a state of utter collapse.
Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros offer a searing account of how we got here — and what it will take to end the plague. Filled with vivid real-life stories and startling new data, The Locust Effect is a gripping journey into the streets and slums where fear is a daily reality for billions of the world's poorest ,where safety is secured only for those with money, and where much of our well-intended aid is lost in the daily chaos of violence.
While their call to action is urgent, Haugen and Boutros provide hope, a real solution and an ambitious way forward. The Locust Effect is a wake-up call: Its massive implications will forever change the way we understand global poverty - and will help secure a safe path to prosperity for the global poor in the 21st century.
When we think of global poverty we usually think of hunger, disease, homelessness. Few of us think of violence. But beneath the surface of the poorest communities in the developing world is a hidden epidemic of everyday violence-of rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse, and more- that is undermining our best efforts to assist the poor.
Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros's The Locust Effect offers a searing account of the way pervasive violence blocks the road out of poverty, undermines economic development, and reduces the effectiveness of international public health efforts. As corrupt and dysfunctional justice systems allow the locusts of predatory violence to descend upon the poor, the ravaging plague lays waste to programs of income generation, disease prevention, education for girls and other assistance to the poor. And tragically, none of these aid programs can stop the violence.
In graphic real-world stories-set in locales ranging from Peru to India to Nigeria- The Locust Effect offers a gripping journey into the vast, hidden underworld of everyday violence where justice is only available to those with money. But the book holds out hope, recalling that justice systems in developed countries were once just as corrupt and brutal; and explores a practical path for throwing off antiquated colonial justice systems and re-engineering the administration of justice to protect the poorest.
Sweeping in scope and filled with unforgettable stories, The Locust Effect will force us to rethink everything we know about the causes of poverty and what it will take make the poor safe enough to prosper.
About the Author
Gary Haugen is President and CEO of International Justice Mission and Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School
Victor Boutros serves a federal prosecutor who investigates and tries international human trafficking, official misconduct, and hate crimes cases around the country on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. He holds degrees from Baylor, Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Chicago. He has written on human rights and foreign affairs and has been a lecturer on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School.
Table of Contents
I. The Deeper Waters of Violence
Chapter One: The Desperate Drama Beneath the Surface
Chapter Two: Five Nightmares that Destroy the Dream
II. If You're Not Safe, Nothing Else Matters
Chapter Three: The Poor Have No Protection and The Emperor Has No Clothes Chapter Four: No Medical Remedy for Violence
Chapter Five: Violence and the Dream of Universal Human Rights
Chapter Six: Interesting But Not Helpful
III. The Invisible Oxygen the Global Poor Don't Get to Breathe
Chapter Seven: Impunity Not Poverty
Chapter Eight: The Invisible Oxygen of Law and Order
Chapter Nine: Inside the Public Justice Pipeline
IV. Why So Broken? Three Surprising Stories
Chapter Ten: The Absurdity that Makes Sense
Chapter Eleven: Private Substitutes for Public Justice
Chapter Twelve: You Get What You Pay For
Chapter Thirteen: Threats to the Status Quo
V. Justice is Possible for the Poor: The Problem that Simply Must-and Can-be Solved
Chapter Fourteen: Hope and the Recovery of a Lost History
Chapter Fifteen: Lessons of Hope from an Emerging Methodology
Chapter Sixteen: A Way Forward: What We All Need to Do Now
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