I recently finished an excellent book entitled The Locust Effect. It was written by the founder of International Justice Mission, Gary Haugen. The thesis of the book is that hundreds of millions of poor people in developing countries are not able to escape from poverty primarily because they do not have any legal protection. Bad guys can harm others with impunity and not fear any repercussions via a functional criminal justice system.
What was most eye opening about the book is how fragile and dangerous daily life is for much of the world. The poorest people in the world experience horrendous violence at the hands of corrupt government officials, other desperate poor people, and (worst of all) the rich elite in their own countries. It’s really very disturbing what our fellow human beings do to each other — what we are all capable of doing when there are no real external restraints on our behavior.
Just as I was thinking about how miserable and difficult life is for those struggling at the bottom rungs of society across the globe, news reports of how tens of thousands of children are fleeing to the U.S. in this past year have made headlines. After reading The Locust Effect, the existence of these kids on our borders makes good sense. Parents across the globe love their children and want the best for them. Kids themselves want to go to school and be safe from violence. When daily life in, for example, Honduras (the murder capital of the world) is more dangerous than traveling thousands of miles in search of a better, safer life in a wealthier, safer country — who would not make this journey? At some point in every family’s history — even if you have to go back four or five generations — we have all sought a better life for our children in another country and taken risks to make this happen.