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’ 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 to make the poor safe enough to prosper.
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