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The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence [Hardcover]

Gary Haugen , Victor Boutros
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Book Description

Jan. 15 2014
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 massiveglobal 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.

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"Gripping and perspective-altering book." --David Brooks, The New York Times


"Throughout my life I've seen firsthand that while talent, ambition, and hard work are distributed equally among all people around the world, many face challenges each day simply surviving. The Locust Effect is a compelling reminder that if we are to create a 21st century of shared prosperity, we cannot turn a blind eye to the violence that threatens our common humanity." --President Bill Clinton


"The Locust Effect provides a much-needed argument for reducing violence against the poor and a demonstration -- through first hand stories that are both shocking and true -- of why that goal is so vital. By reminding us that basic legal protections are not a privilege, but a universal right, Gary Haugen has issued a moral call to arms that informs the brain and touches the heart." --Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State


"This extraordinary book offers surprising and valuable insights about the nature and the drivers of the plague of violence that haunts the global poor as well as smart ideas about how to tackle it. A must-read." --Moisés Naím, Scholar, Carnegie Endowment, author of The End of Power, and former editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy


"You may 'know' that the world's poor suffer common everyday violence -- robbery, extortion, rape, murder, torture-a stream of humiliating assaults on their dignity. You may 'know' that this implies lost productivity and ultimately lost growth for low-income economies. Haugen asks why, if we know all that, we do so little? ...Read this book and you will be convinced the issue deserves more of your attention." --Nancy Birdsall, Founding President, Center for Global Development


"Some of the biggest ideas are right in front of us but still invisible. The Locust Effect brings home, in convincing and powerful detail, the simple but oh-so-important point that poverty results from violence as much as violence results from poverty. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in development, security, and the failure of billions of people to achieve their potential." --Anne-Marie Slaughter, President, New America Foundation, and Professor Emeritus of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University


"The Locust Effect presents a compelling and shocking portrayal of the relationship between violence and poverty. The book convincingly argues that violence is the missing link in our understanding of global poverty and of our development interventions. Haugen has spent decades in extraordinary work to address violence, to free those subjected to it, and to apply the rule of law. His firsthand account brings needed moral and developmental urgency to the relentless and pervasive violence poor people experience, especially women and girls. This is a must-read book that will fundamentally expand our analysis of the nature of global poverty and our efforts to overcome it." --Maria Otero, Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, and Former President and CEO of ACCION International


"In a world of simplistic and knee-jerk responses to the world's problems, Gary Haugen arrives with insight, wisdom, and realism. The Locust Effect is a game-changer. He shows us how violence slices through all our good intentions, negating development, rights, and freedom. This is a book that is as smart as it is heartfelt, as grounded as it is creative. These are ideas of real power and grace." --Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery, University of Hull, and Co-Founder, Free the Slaves


"This crucial study carefully documents the fundamental truth that the end of poverty demands the end of violence. Both fascinating and important, Gary Haugen's book is a moving demonstration that is at once fact-filled and highly readable -- a truly unusual combination." --Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School


"The Locust Effect is a wake-up call to everyone who cares about global poverty. As International Justice Mission's Gary Haugen and co-author Victor Boutros report, with painstaking data and breathtaking cases from the field, unchecked violent crime against the poorest, especially girls and women, isn't just a human rights problem. It is a drag on development that no amount of foreign aid can fix if functioning public justice systems aren't part of the solution." --Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google Giving


"The Locust Effect does a great service to masses of poor and vulnerable children and adults who are victims of everyday, ordinary violent crime but who are wholly unprotected by law enforcement institutions. International Justice Mission and authors Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros have put the life and death issue of poor people's access to the rule of law squarely on the agenda of governments, development institutions, and civil society." --Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First


"Gary Haugen reveals in painful detail the brokenness of our criminal justice systems. He also shows us that it's possible to fix them. The work of IJM that he narrates from Cebu City in the Philippines, for example, is an extraordinary story of how a committed team can come to understand justice system failures, support improvements at every step in the law enforcement process, strengthen the hand of internal reform champions, and achieve transformation. There are people in every corner of the world working to advance justice. I recommend this book to all of them." --Vivek Maru, CEO and Founder of Namati, and Founder and Former Director for Timap for Justice


"The Locust Effect makes a compelling case that a country that wants to grow and prosper needs a public justice system that protects its people, especially victims of crime, exploitation and oppression. Developing nations that must provide their citizens police who are honest, active and willing to protect victims of crime and exploitation -- especially the poorest and most vulnerable in society." -Major General Pol Phie They, Director of Cambodia's Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department


"An insightful, incisive analysis of violence as it impacts every level of the plight of the poor. A compelling wake-up call for all who care about justice and human rights. It tells the truth and gives tools and guidelines that demand attention." --Tim Costello, Chief Executive, World Vision Australia


"I have seen firsthand the ravages of violence against women and children all over the world. International Justice Mission continues to bring to light the impact of common crime not only on individual victims, but on whole countries. The Locust Effect is a must-read book for everybody who cares about the poorest of the poor." --Cindy Hensley McCain, Humanitarian and Business Owner


"Gary Haugen and IJM are waking up the social consciences of the worldwide Church even as they have shown the international human rights community 'why the end of poverty requires the end of violence' caused by the widespread failure of justice systems in the developing world. In this important book, Haugen continues to do both." --Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York City


"Gary Haugen's The Locust Effect is an exhaustive, devastatingly painful look at the very problem the 'civilized world' would rather not face: the systemic, unspeakable violence against the poorest of the world's poor. This book is hard to read. One wants to turn away. And yet the reader can only wonder what would happen without the profound work of Gary Haugen and International Justice Mission and their tireless efforts to end the madness." --Kathie Lee Gifford, Host on NBC's The TODAY Show


"When the bell tolls for justice throughout the modern world, Gary Haugen is most often nearby, raising his voice (and ours) as a tireless sentinel for freedom for the poor and oppressed--those who live beyond the reach of the protections many in the western world take for granted day by day. In The Locust Effect, Gary unveils the deeper issues of poverty and uncovers what we often fail to see, or worse, do not want to acknowledge is real." --Louie Giglio, Pastor, Passion City Church


"In a remarkably sensitive study, very aptly named The Locust Effect, the authors have provided many new valuable insights into the intimate relationship between poverty and violence plaguing the billions of global poor in many post-colonial societies across continents. This is also probably the first time that Western observers have come upon the unpleasant reality that it is, in fact, the native political establishments in South Asian countries themselves who stubbornly refuse to break away from the colonial ruler supportive police and criminal justice systems, concepts, laws, procedures, and mind sets imposed by the imperialist rulers, thus denying their peoples the benefits of a citizen friendly law enforcement system. An invaluable companion to all criminal justice studies." --Kirpal Dhillon, Former Director General of Police in the Indian states of Punjab and Madhya Pradesh; Vice Chancellor, Bhopal University, India


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 as 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 thefaculty of the University of Chicago Law School.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a necessary read March 1 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book. Long, but worth the read. Justice needs as much effort, or more, as our other development efforts in developing countries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent argument - well documented great read May 11 2014
By LH
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book was very well written. I liked the format of stories (very sad but helpful illustrations) background of how systems became like this, and a look at how the developed, reasonably functioning systems were built and positive stories of change from around the world. Eye opening context and detailed examples of why things are wrong and a beacon of hope for the future.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  108 reviews
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary companion to 'Half the Sky' Jan. 29 2014
By J&B Lea - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A plague of locusts can lay waste to anything and everything in its wake. "The Locust Effect" makes the compelling case that violence (common, everyday person-on-person violence) is laying waste to anything and everything for the poor in the developing world. Our efforts to feed the poor, educate the illiterate, uplift and empower girls and women, combat cultural prejudices, stimulate bruised economies, provide shelter for the homeless cannot and will not succeed unless we change the conversation and start to consider how deeply violence affects the very people we hope to help.

We would do well not to simply assume we know what the poor need. When asked, what the poor want most is not education, food, shelter or opportunity - they want to live in safety, without fear that the little they have and those they love could be decimated by evil-doers acting with impunity. They want justice: justice which HAS to come from public justice systems.

The thesis of the book is simple: the end of poverty requires the end of violence; and to end violence, countries need functioning public justice systems.

Haugen and Boutros carefully, academically, painstakingly and passionately argue that violence against the poor is both the biggest issue which the poor are facing, and also the single issue which the world at large has yet to address for human rights. They are clear in their probing as to how criminal justice systems got to be so bad, sober in their assessment of the task ahead, 100% convincing that this is the issue we HAVE to face head on if we are to seek justice for the billions of suffering people in our world.

The Locust Effect is not light reading. It doesn't have a silver bullet solution. It is emotionally unsatisfying to read: I wanted at least one really happy ending for the girls and women mentioned in the book. The book gives none - It is deeply disturbing and yet hopeful and purposeful.

Reading Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn was inspirational and has opened up a new conversation for how we can and must address the issues facing girls and women in the world. The Locust Effect is a necessary companion for us to continue that conversation. Criminals need to be tackled head on. Sex traffickers, rapists, slave owners, torturers and molesters cannot continue with impunity; and to do that - we need to get actively talking and thinking about public justice. This book is necessary reading if we are to make a meaningful contribution to tackling poverty in the 21st century.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound insights on violence and the poor … all in one volume Jan. 21 2014
By S. Hoover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"The Locust Effect" articulates the missing link in the international vision to eradicate extreme global poverty. The missing link: effectively reducing the lawless violence that the poor face daily. It rips apart the lives of the impoverished and lays waste to all other anti-poverty efforts. Authors Gary Haugen and VIctor Boutros bring decades of first-hand experience walking alongside vulnerable peoples to this groundbreaking book on justice. They have repeatedly witnessed the gut-wrenching failures of law enforcement and courtrooms to protect and to represent our neediest global citizens.

"The Locust Effect" meets its goal to build a rigorous case that the elimination of everyday violence is now the most critical factor in the battle against poverty. The book effectively demonstrates how such common violence robs impoverished families of the ability to use the new schools, new medical clinics, and the new water wells. Access to these resources is essentially denied when violent perpetrators roam unhindered to rape, beat, and rob vulnerable members of the community.

Stories of real people in real crises open the book. We learn their names and their situations. Their brave willingness to share their stories allows the authors to put faces on the atrocities the poor face daily. Their stories re-surface throughout the book, along with new victims and new heroes in the fight against violence. But "The Locust Effect" is also full of hard facts.

Statistics and studies fill the middle chapters. Like stats? You will overdose here! Don't like stats: skim the middle chapters but pause to absorb the stories and summaries. Ultimately, the abundance of references makes this book an invaluable resource for anyone studying or advocating on issues of global poverty. For the first time ever, titles and locations of academic journal articles, United Nations documents, World Bank reports, non-government organizations’ research, and personal interviews related to justice issues are all collated in one place. The bibliography and endnotes alone fill 40-plus pages in the volume.

"The Locust Effect" concludes with hope. The authors detail examples of reformed justice systems in modern-day cities as well as nations. It can be done! These final chapters take the “vastness” argument off the table -- that the problem is so huge and so complex and so risky that we cannot address it.

Haugen and Boutros reduce the enormity of the justice system brokenness into manageable, addressable pieces. They even suggest areas of research that are missing and needed to help move this conversation forward. In short time, "The Locust Effect" will soon come to serve the invaluable role of conversation-starter with common language and baselines.

Without reservation, I recommend "The Locust Effect". My shelves hold numerous works that address global poverty. None, however, address this missing piece in the struggle against poverty. Through The Locust Effect, I came to appreciate that the plague of everyday violence is the missing link toward the goal of eradicating extreme poverty worldwide. This volume will truly become one of the go-to resources for all who seek to crush global poverty!!

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tool for Knowledge and Motivation. Feb. 2 2014
By Stephanie Parrish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Imagine what life would be like if you woke up every single day afraid to go to school or afraid to walk to your local grocery store. Afraid to share your story with local authorities because you knew your voice would not be heard.

Imagine what life would be like if you had NOTHING shielding you from violence.

“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.”

Everyday thousands of people around the world work for humanitarian organizations invested in helping those in need, ending poverty and spreading awareness for Universal Human Rights. Many of these organizations solely focus on water aid, food aid, disease prevention, shelter, and education; unintentionally avoiding the underlying CORE issue(VIOLENCE) that strongly dictates the overall impact or efforts of their work in ending poverty.

There are many devastating things happening all over the world at any given time, but this book genuinely emphasizes how important everyday basic safety truly is in order to lead any sort of a productive life.

For example, we may be able to build a school in the developing world to give the opportunity for a substantial education, but of what use is this school if young girls are traumatized and afraid to walk there every morning due to the fear of rape or abduction? They inevitably do not receive a formal education, nor do they receive necessary assistance or protection from local law enforcement in order for them to flourish and make steady progress.

The core argument of The Locust Effect is that the direct solution to violence against the poor is law enforcement.

How can a society restrain violence if it only addresses the exacerbating factors in the absence of a functioning justice system? The Locust Effect lifts the veil on common forms of violence against the poor in the developing world(Corrupt police officers, forced labor, rape, murder) and sheds light on the lives of the 4 billion who live outside of the law’s protection.

This book is painful to read, but worth every heartbreaking minute. There are many detailed personal accounts of devastating violence against families and individuals who have no honest or effective way of protecting themselves. Nonetheless, it’s an enlightening and necessary read pertaining to universal human rights for those interested in making a lasting and positive global impact.

In order for there to be successful unified progress in ending global poverty, we must first address the underlying core issue of violence and the brokenness of developing world justice systems.

Violence and abuse may often be hidden, however we can no longer deny or turn a blind eye to it’s powerful negative impact on the world’s poor.

The Locust Effect will effortlessly inspire you and lead YOU to TAKE ACTION.

This book can be used as a tool for knowledge and motivation. It will forever change the way you view those living in poverty, and leave you with the hope that we CAN and WILL create safer environments for the poor to be given the equal opportunity to thrive!

In 2015 there will still be around 883 million people living in extreme poverty(according to The Locust Effect).

IJM is wholeheartedly invested in fighting to help those who have been taken advantage of(without financial means to protect themselves). This is a must read! And will hopefully evoke a passion inside of you to get involved with the International Justice Mission.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great explanation of poverty and violence. Feb. 23 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thuis book has opened my eyes to a whole new view of world politics and justice systems. I'll be honest and say I have only read half of it because it became boring to keep having the exact same message reiterated countless ways.......even though I understand it's an important message I grasped it well enough to not want it repeatedly hammered over my head.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Locust Effect is the end of the Butterfly Effect Feb. 4 2014
By Jeffrey M. Luchun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Book Review of The Locust Effect by Gary A. Haugen

The Locust Effect by Gary A. Haugen, Founder and President of International Justice Mission, tackles one of today's most difficult topics, Poverty and Violence. Often individuals do not connect the two atrocities, yet in society these two often work in tandem. As Founder and President of International Justice Mission, Gary has dedicated his life to eradicate human trafficking, all the while poverty and violence are substantial aspects of the cause.

Filled with detailed examples, The Locust Effect not only stimulates the mind with statistics and reasoning, but also pulls the heart into the midst of each individual's story. As I write this review I am sitting in Starbucks sipping my fair trade, living wage providing $3.50 latte, while 52% of the worlds population survive each day on less than $1.25. The impact of global poverty, even on us in the United States, is substantial and must be rectified. The result of such devastating poverty is violence. Haugen states, "Violence is as much a part of what it means to be poor as being hungry, sick, homeless, or jobless. (pg. 43)" this violence is not just physical in nature, as in war and fighting, but also sexual, emotional, and even spiritual (in the name of a god). Other aspects of violence focus on land seizures and abusive police, throughout these forms of violence the Locust Effect must begin.

The locust effect reflects the devastation of the 19th Century American Midwest where locusts invaded and devoured the crops, wool, and even supplies of the farmers creating an immediate impact on the harvest and potential food production. "Likewise, it seems that we are approaching a pivotal moment in history where agreement is beginning to emerge that if we do not decisively address the plague of everyday violence that swarms over the common poor in the developing world, the poor will not be able to thrive and achieve their dreams-ever. (98)" Unlike the locust effect of the 1870's, where the entire species died off by the end of the decade, he poor and violence against them does not appear to be declining. The question raised here revolves around why. Why are poverty and violence not declining in a world with massive amounts of monetary and material assistance. Haugen determines to answer this question in the middle chapters.

Here, Haugen, provides three striking reasons for this lack of affect. First, "most law enforcement systems in the developing world are colonial relics that were never set up to protect the poor from violence. (197)" Second, "elites with wealth and power in the developing world have abandoned these dysfunctional public justice systems and have set up systems of private security that protect them from the poor and violence. (197)" Third, "the massive global movement to address poverty in the developing world over the last half century has not made a meaningful effort to address the problem. (198)" So, what can we do, today, to alleviate or at least begin the process of affecting change? Haugen's final chapter provides excellent examples of where to begin, join, or promote.

Overall, The Locust Effect is a MUST READ for anyone even slightly interested in helping those in need. Non-profits will find the structure and source material to begin or refocus their journey, churches will find the biblical mandate to love God and love their neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39), while living out the great commission (Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:44-49, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8).
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