Confronting the locust effect: The rule of law in developing nations
Values & Capitalism Project
About This Event

Event Summary

Although the efforts of the aid community and the spread of globalization, free trade, and enterprise have yielded a 50 percent reduction in extreme poverty over the past 20 years, more than four billion people still live outside the basic protections of the law.

At an AEI event on Wednesday, Gary Haugen, author of “The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence,” argued that the “locust effect” takes four main forms: gender-based violence, slavery and forced labor, police abuse, and land theft. The poor suffer these daily injustices disproportionately because they have inadequate power to deter abusive perpetrators and because police have little financial incentive to enforce laws.

ONE Campaign’s Tom Hart suggested that violence is both a symptom and a cause of poverty. Desperation often forces the poor into exploitation, but investments in public health, education, and infrastructure can check the conditions abused by perpetrators.

AEI’s Nick Eberstadt strongly concurred with the thesis of “The Locust Effect” as a model for antipoverty efforts in the developing world. He advocated for an international law enforcement index, akin to the Index of Economic Freedom, to identify unjust legal systems and motivate structural reform.
Haugen concluded by arguing that law enforcement could become the key component of foreign aid.
--Meredith Schultz

Event Description

Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros’s new book, “The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence” (Oxford University Press, 2014), reveals a secret terror that is devastating the poor in much of the developing world: violence. Although since 1970 the free enterprise system has lifted millions out of extreme poverty, stable societies require property rights and basic legal protections to ensure that citizens can pursue prosperity and experience the benefits of economic growth.

Please join us for a lively discussion with Gary Haugen, Tom Hart, and Nick Eberstadt about how the rule of law facilitates human flourishing in ways that differ from relief and development efforts alone.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


11:45 AM
Registration and Lunch

12:00 PM
Opening Remarks:
Josh Good, AEI

12:05 PM
Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission

12:30 PM
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
Tom Hart, ONE Campaign

1:00 PM
Audience Question-and-Answer Session

Josh Good, AEI

1:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Meredith Schultz at [email protected], 202.862.4879.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Josh Good is program manager for AEI's Values & Capitalism Project. He previously spent four years working on a pair of responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage initiatives at ICF International. He also worked on a national faith-based ex-prisoner reentry project, in partnership with congregations and businesses.

Tom Hart serves as the US executive director of the ONE Campaign, which was cofounded by U2’s Bono, and oversees the organization’s advocacy, communications, and campaign efforts around the country. Hart previously worked as the director of government relations for the ONE Campaign; deputy director and director of government relations for Debt AIDS Trade Africa; director of government relations for the Episcopal Church, USA; and aide to Senators Alan Cranston (D-CA) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Through his work at ONE, Hart has collaborated with organizations such as the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Global Fund to raise awareness of and funding for issues including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Gary Haugen is the president, CEO, and founder of International Justice Mission (IJM), a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to protecting the poor from violence throughout the developing world. Before founding IJM, Haugen served as a member of the executive committee of the National Initiative for Reconciliation in South Africa, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and US Department of Justice. In 1994, Haugen was commissioned as the UN officer in charge of the investigation following the Rwandan genocide. The 2012 recipient of the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award, Haugen is also the author of “Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian” (InterVarsity Press, 2008), “Terrify No More: Young Girls Held Captive and the Undercover Operation to Win Their Freedom” (W Publishing Group, 2005), “Good News about Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World” (InterVarsity Press, 2009), and, most recently, “The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence” (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Nicholas Eberstadt
a political economist and demographer by training, holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at AEI. He is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research, a member of the visiting committee at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a member of the Global Leadership Council at the World Economic Forum. He researches and writes extensively on economic development, foreign aid, global health, demographics, and poverty. He is the author of numerous monographs and articles on North and South Korea, East Asia, and countries of the former Soviet Union. He is the author of “A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic” (Templeton, 2012) and the recently released AEI monograph “The Great Society at Fifty: The Triumph and The Tragedy.”

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

Rebuilding American defense: A speech by Governor Bobby Jindal
image Smelling liberal, thinking conservative
image Stopping Ebola before it turns into a pandemic
image All too many reasons for pessimism about Europe
AEI Participants




AEI on Facebook