Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Westerners Join the Islamic State

Efraim Benmelech and Esteban F. Klor, a paper published through the National Bureau of Economic Research:
This paper provides the first systematic analysis of the link between economic, political, and social conditions and the global phenomenon of ISIS foreign fighters. We find that poor economic conditions do not drive participation in ISIS. In contrast, the number of ISIS foreign fighters is positively correlated with a country's GDP per capita and Human Development Index (HDI). In fact, many foreign fighters originate from countries with high levels of economic development, low income inequality, and highly developed political institutions. Other factors that explain the number of ISIS foreign fighters are the size of a country's Muslim population and its ethnic homogeneity. Although we cannot directly determine why people join ISIS, our results suggest that the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS is driven not by economic or political conditions but rather by ideology and the difficulty of assimilation into homogeneous Western countries.
According to their research the problem is not poverty or unemployment but lack of assimilation.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"According to their research the problem is not poverty or unemployment but lack of assimilation."

"Lack of assimilation" here being a sanitized term for racism, xenophobia, and both cultural and institutional discrimination?

There's more to life than just having a job and a solid income. If you're surrounded by people who are openly hostile to your mere existence and who are socially and systemically allowed to constantly abuse you and deny you equal treatment, that can really radicalize a person.

Plenty of well paid, fully employed Irishmen took up arms against the British during The Troubles. Many decently well off Palestinians are today driven to engage in violence by Israel's brutal repression. Numerous civil wars have erupted over issues of race and ideological friction rather than economic struggles.

When you treat another person or group of people as lesser or evil simply for differing from yourself, and when abuses against them are openly tolerated and denied any reasonable means of redress, they inevitably take the issue into their own hands and turn to violence.