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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

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The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence

ISBN13: 9780199937875
Published: March 2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press USA
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardabck
Price: £18.99

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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.

Public International Law
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