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Publisher Description

A Washington Post bestseller

While the world has made encouraging strides in the fight against global poverty, the hidden plague of everyday violence silently undermines our best efforts to help the poor. Common violence like rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, and police abuse has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in its 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? In one of the most remarkable social disasters of the last half century, basic public justice systems in the developing world have descended into a state of utter collapse, and there's nothing shielding the poor from violent people.

Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros offer a searing account of how we got here and what it will take to end the plague. 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 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.

Politics & Current Events
January 3
Oxford University Press
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford trading as Oxford University Press

Customer Reviews

ali llewellyn ,

The “brave refusal to look away"

The Locust Effect is not an easy read. It’s thick, and intense. Many chapters were slow going (for me, a notoriously fast reader!) and others brought tears. I read story after tragic story of the humiliation and debasement of human beings by other human beings, and was appalled.

At the end of the day, this book explains why current approaches to address poverty have not yet succeeded. “What was so clear to me was the way these very impoverished Rwandans at the point of their most desperate need huddled against those advancing machetes in that church did not need someone to bring them a sermon, or food, or a doctor, or a teacher, or a microloan. They needed someone to restrain the hand with the machete.” It’s the hard, messy relational part that takes a ton of work. The book gives tons of insights into the academic research around poverty as well as numerous examples of contextualized projects that are taking ground in this area. The Locust Effect doesn’t just analyze the problem theoretically - it demonstrates the real, local, personal possibilities.

I know so many people who know that things aren’t right - they want to make a better world but just don’t know how. They can’t go to many of these places or help them firsthand. So many of the evils perpetuated in the book are built on the idea that no one will notice - and that it wouldn’t matter if they did. Let me be clear: this book is meant to change the conversation. Every person who reads, and understands, and shares - you are changing the public understanding of the issue of poverty and the reality of violence. It all counts.

The Locust Effect’s key is the invitation to stop pretending and SEE. So many turn the other way, or click to another page, or change the channel - but that “brave refusal to look away” invites us all to help create a better world for ourselves and our neighbors.

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