Addressing the forms of violence that plague the world today requires international actors to acknowledge that tackling state repression and organized crime necessitates looking beyond technical quick fixes. The private and social sectors also have an important role to play.
Ideas, experiences, and lessons from other countries are not panaceas but, if properly researched, disseminated, and discussed, they can magnify the reform moment in the United States.
Repression can incite greater disorder within a region and export violence to other places. Instead, to heal a society of epidemic violence requires the middle class helped by social organizers and politicians willing to make deals.
Decivilization can happen anywhere when violence becomes regularized. However, recovery is possible when complicit states reform and regular people, especially the middle class, address the violence and disorder in their communities.
Getting on the road to recivilization requires fixing violent and corrupt systems. Such reform can shift the incentives on the ground and may provide an opportunity for deeper change in society.
While the road out of today’s extreme political polarization in the United States isn’t obvious, adopting reforms like ranked choice voting could reduce polarization and better represent the will of the people.
Highly unequal societies are some of the most violent places on earth. Recovery requires an attentive middle class and politicians willing to make deals.
The distinction between political and criminal violence is not as stark as many think. When governments become complicit with violence these distinctions begin to blur.
The world’s most violent places aren’t at war. They are polarized, unequal democracies. Here’s how to make them safer.
Really violent places can get better, but it is not an easy path.