Once again I have to ask: Have you ever seen something so stupid that it leaves you not only scratching your head until your scalp bleeds, but wondering if we’re at a point where the Sweet Meteor of Death (SMOD) would be the only remedy for the vast amounts of retardery put out into the world by the self-loathing social justice warrior set?
I know I’ve asked this question a lot, and sometimes I’m encouraged by what I read on the Internet. Today is not one of those days.
Yesterday, the Washington (Com)Post plucked a rumination out of its belly button lint examining whether Western nations are to blame for the rise of Daeshbag violence, because… Ready for this?
The (Com)Post admits that the idea is “controversial” and that this is a debate that’s “just beginning” even as it examines the brain droppings of one Thomas Piketty, whose entire academic existence revolves around proving how evil and horrible capitalism is and how its very nature will result in the growth the dreaded “wealth inequality” that will ostensibly create “a permanent, dynastic, global aristocracy, or an ‘endless inegalitarian spiral,’” according to Forbes. As an aside, Forbes also details how a grad student from MIT basically kicks Piketty in his shriveled, barely operational raisins by challenging the very premise of his poorly-reasoned “Capitalism is Teh Source of All Ebil™” mantra.
For the record, the debate is not just beginning. In my “Roots of Terrorism” Master’s level class in 2008 we explored (and tossed) the claim that poor people join terrorist groups en masse due to income inequality. The National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper in 2004 that looked at the determinants of terrorism at the country level. The paper showed that “terrorist risk is not significantly higher for poorer countries, once the effects of other country-specific characteristics such as the level of political freedom are taken into account.”
Princeton economics professor Alan Krueger, who has also advised the National Counterterrorism Center on the subject, also disagrees with this poverty = terrorism nonsense.
Why are better educated, more advantaged individuals more likely than others to join terrorist groups? I think of terrorism as a market, with a supply side and a demand side. Individuals, either in small groups or on their own, supply their services to terrorist organizations.
But… but… but… Piketty will whine, it’s ECONOMIC INEQUALITY!
If you look at the region between Egypt and Iran — which includes Syria — you find several oil monarchies controlling between 60 and 70 percent of wealth, while housing just a bit more than 10 percent of the 300 million people living in that area.
Within those monarchies, he continues, a small slice of people controls most of the wealth, while a large — including women and refugees — are kept in a state of “semi-slavery.” Those economic conditions, he says, have become justifications for jihadists, along with the casualties of a series of wars in the region perpetuated by Western powers.
The only problem is that the jihadists themselves have actually caused economic problems! They shut down businesses. They destroy livelihoods, leaving those who actually contribute to the economy with little choice but to join them, and leaving them with no economic options if they don’t. In addition, not a single sane investor in the world would put money into a shithole where Islamic terrorists are beheading people in the streets. Essentially, they have turned the economy into a recruiting tool, and by taking full control of the economy, they have wrested any ability to make a livelihood from merchants and businesspeople.
Before Islamic State militants overran her hometown of Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, Fahima Omar ran a hairdressing salon. But ISIS gunmen made Omar close her business—and lose her only source of income. Salons like hers encouraged “debauchery,” the militants said.
Omar is one of many business owners—male and female—who say ISIS has forced them to shut up shop and lose their livelihoods in the process. The extremist group has also prevented those who refuse to join it from finding jobs, and has imposed heavy taxes on civilians.
Additionally, Daesh is the spawn of al Q’aida, which wasn’t exactly started by poor jihadists disillusioned with not getting their share of the economic pie.
The World Bank is trying to figure out the level of income inequality in the Middle East, and claims that due to lack of transparency, it’s extremely hard to gauge who has squirreled wealth away where and how much. The world’s understanding of income inequality in the Middle East until now has been pretty limited, and we actually thought that income inequality in the region was relatively low. World Bank economist Irina Ianchovichina says looking just at household income is insufficient (Piketty claims to rely on income tax information from those countries, but Ianchovichina says the World Bank hasn’t even been able to get that info).
Measuring wealth is much more complex than calculating income, so any one source gives us only a partial picture. The Forbes database of billionaires gives us information on the wealth and nationalities of billionaires, most of who either inherited their wealth or earned it themselves. This database suggests this sort of wealth in the region is not very high, except in Lebanon.
So what might we be missing? In many cases, it appears the amount of wealth accumulated by heads of state in the region is not trivial: information on this can be obtained from various sources, including Forbes. When we include the wealth of heads of state we find that wealth concentration increases in a number of countries, although in some of the wealthiest countries like Qatar and even Kuwait, this particular adjustment doesn’t make much difference.
Other recent evidence suggests that the nationals of many countries hide their wealth in bank accounts in tax havens and that, cumulatively, these accounts show up as a sizable share of a country’s Gross Domestic Product. Niels Johannesen and co-authors show that autocracies rich in resources like oil—many of them countries in the Arab world—account globally for a much larger share of hidden wealth than other types of countries. And now, data from the HSBC on such bank deposits by nationality shows that most Arab countries are among the top one third of countries ranked by the amount of money in their HSBC accounts.
In other words, that’s quite the assertion there, Sparky! Information on real wealth concentration is limited due to the lack of transparency in those nations, studies over the years have shown that economic factors have only limited impact on the rise in terrorism, and yet Piketty puts forth this claim.
I would guess it’s because it’s his bread and butter. He’s been harping on this income inequality thing for years. He promotes wealth redistribution through a
progressive progtarded global tax on wealth. While he claimed to have been converted to the virtues of capitalism and the free market after a 1991 trip to the USSR, it apparently didn’t stick. As a matter of fact he served as an economic adviser to Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal during the French presidential campaign, so I don’t know how anyone can claim with any seriousness that this guy is in any way objective or a reliable source of economic assessment. And yet, you can expect the usual prog suspects will glom on to this as an anchor for their feelings of Western guilt and their insistence that everyone who is rich be punished for it.
Oh, but the oil revenues of rich Arabic countries are not going to education, Piketty claims (link is in French)! Oil money is supposed to go to regional development, he claims! Well, I’m so glad he seems to consider himself the arbiter of how other nations should spend their money! Sure, every nosy socialist on the planet wants to tell others how to spend their wealth, because obviously their feminist studies degrees make them qualified adjudicators of allocation of revenues. And while spending on education is nice to have, there’s no indication that education, or lack thereof, is contributing to Daesh recruitment efforts. As a matter of fact, according to Dr. Krueger’s research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the exact opposite is true.
Not only that, but Daesh scumbags are incredibly rich. They’ve stolen oil and taken over its production, and they apparently have a waiting list of would-be terrorist assholes waiting to blow themselves up for Allah! Worse yet, rich Saudis are allowed to jump the queue, causing quite a bit of jealous discontent among the other murderous freaks. AH! Maybe that’s what Piketty means? They’re just jealous because the rich are being allowed to blow themselves quicker than they are! Yeah… that certainly sounds like supporting evidence for Piketty’s idiotic theory… NOT!
Here’s the thing. Terrorism is the buzzword of the decade. If you can link your claims to terrorism, you are almost sure to get a captive audience for even the most defective of claims. Piketty has been promoting his income inequality views for years, and even though the evidence done over the past decade shows no correlation between poverty, a lack of education, and a desire to become a terrorist or even support for terrorist views (quite the opposite appears to be true), he probably sees this as an opportunity to advance his redistributionist agenda.
So watch out, people! “Global warming” and “income inequality” will be the two catch phrases that will become the prog siren call as causes of terrorism. Just know it’s all a puerile scheme to relieve people of their earnings.