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Thread: Poverty not significant factor in terrorism

  1. #1
    spinningfreemanny's Avatar I'm everything you want
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    Hey, a useful study, from Harvard, of all places; go figure.


    Freedom squelches terrorist violence

    KSG associate professor researches freedom-terrorism link
    By Alvin Powell
    Harvard News Office

    A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation's level of political freedom.

    Associate Professor of Public Policy Alberto Abadie examined data on terrorism and variables such as wealth, political freedom, geography, and ethnic fractionalization for nations that have been targets of terrorist attacks.

    Abadie, whose work was published in the Kennedy School's Faculty Research Working Paper Series, included both acts of international and domestic terrorism in his analysis.

    Though after the 9/11 attacks most of the work in this area has focused on international terrorism, Abadie said terrorism originating within the country where the attacks occur actually makes up the bulk of terrorist acts each year. According to statistics from the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base for 2003, which Abadie cites in his analysis, there were 1,536 reports of domestic terrorism worldwide, compared with just 240 incidents of international terrorism.

    Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors. However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation's wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences.

    "In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism, as previous studies have shown, but perhaps more surprisingly also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin," Abadie said.

    Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.

    Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism.

    Though his study didn't explore the reasons behind the trends he researched, Abadie said it could be that autocratic nations' tight control and repressive practices keep terrorist activities in check, while nations making the transition to more open, democratic governments - such as currently taking place in Iraq and Russia - may be politically unstable, which makes them more vulnerable.

    "When you go from an autocratic regime and make the transition to democracy, you may expect a temporary increase in terrorism," Abadie said.

    Abadie's study also found a strong connection in the data between terrorism and geographic factors, such as elevation or tropical weather.

    "Failure to eradicate terrorism in some areas of the world has often been attributed to geographic barriers, like mountainous terrain in Afghanistan or tropical jungle in Colombia. This study provides empirical evidence of the link between terrorism and geography," Abadie said.

    In Abadie's opinion, the connection between geography and terrorism is hardly surprising.

    "Areas of difficult access offer safe haven to terrorist groups, facilitate training, and provide funding through other illegal activities like the production and trafficking of cocaine and opiates," Abadie wrote in the paper.

    A native of Spain's Basque region, Abadie said he has long been interested in terrorism and related issues. His past research has explored the effect of terrorism on economic activity, using the Basque country as a case study.

    Abadie is turning his attention to the effect of terrorism on international capital flows. Some analysts have argued that terrorist attacks wouldn't have much of an impact on the economy, since unlike a war's widespread damage, the damage from terrorist attacks tends to be relatively small or confined to a small area.

    In an era of open international capital markets, however, Abadie said terrorism may have a greater chilling effect than previously thought, since even a low risk of damage from a terrorist attack may be enough to send investors looking elsewhere.
    http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/...05-terror.html
    Do you know everything? do you know 3% of everything? Could it be that what you don't believe in is in the other 97%?

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    ZaZu's Avatar I know stuff ...
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    A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty,
    Where is that a 'widely held ' belief? I've always assumed that terrorism was a desparate attempt to strike back at an enemy one can not defeat.


    If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.
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  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
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    So..

    The UK is an "Inbetweeny" country in Political Freedoms?

    And Germany, Italy, Spain?

    Wow..... maybe im slanted here...

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    lynx's Avatar .
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  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZaZu
    Where is that a 'widely held ' belief? I've always assumed that terrorism was a desparate attempt to strike back at an enemy one can not defeat.
    Same here. The poor might be prone to flat out stealing but terrorism...never woulda thunk it.

    That article holds no revelation for me.
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  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    I think the poverty idea may be attributed to civil unrest being classesd as terrorism rather than a cause of international terrorism, but then if the poverty was a direct result of political actions could the two not be considered inseperable?
    Last edited by vidcc; 11-09-2004 at 02:51 PM.

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  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    spinningfreemanny's Avatar I'm everything you want
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rat Faced
    So..

    The UK is an "Inbetweeny" country in Political Freedoms?

    And Germany, Italy, Spain?

    Wow..... maybe im slanted here...
    ??? what article are you reading?
    Do you know everything? do you know 3% of everything? Could it be that what you don't believe in is in the other 97%?

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
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    Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism.
    Its in your article... I'd say the UK had considerably more political freedom than your own, together with most of the rest of the EU. Yet we have suffered our fair share of Terrorism over the years, as have Germany, Spain etc...

    While im on the subject...

    Abadie's study also found a strong connection in the data between terrorism and geographic factors, such as elevation or tropical weather
    .

    I wouldnt say that we're Tropical either...


    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    spinningfreemanny's Avatar I'm everything you want
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    Maybe the geographic factor of two huge oceans are the cause.
    Last edited by spinningfreemanny; 11-09-2004 at 10:27 PM.
    Do you know everything? do you know 3% of everything? Could it be that what you don't believe in is in the other 97%?

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Terrorism is the tool of those who wish to bring about political change but perceive that peaceful means would be ineffective either because state control will not allow it or because no one is interested in their crackpot ideas. An example of the former is Basque separatism, the latter the Red Brigade in Italy. In the US, the Weathermen and Simbalese Liberation Army also fall into the latter. AQ with its primary struggle being against the Saud family falls into the former - likewise did the Stern Gang in Israel in the 1940s.

    The notion that people like Osama are motived by jealousy or desire to have what we have is simply wrong headed. It is a complete failure to understand what makes them tick. Lets face it, with a personal fortune of around $300 million he could have done whatever he wanted. He chose to live in a cave in a bleak mountain range. I suspect, given his view of the world, he has never been happier.

    Economic oppression/poverty tends to sow the seeds of civil war and revolution, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Mexico, Colombia are examples of this. However, it is the hope of most terrorists that they will engender a popular rising in support of their cause and certainly some revolutions started with acts of terrorism.
    Last edited by Biggles; 11-09-2004 at 10:49 PM.
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