Is terrorism an economic problem?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Why we cannot wipe out terrorsim from the world through globalization and economic cooperation?

Rich countries should help poor ones through economic cooperation & educational upliftment of children especially women which will eventually wipe out terrorism

Terrorism is far from a purely economic phenomenon. Back in 1970s and 1980s, “home-grown” terrorist groups existed in many affluent nations (Red Brigades in Italy, Red Army Faction in Germany, or Action Directe in France come to mind). Red Brigades, for example, committed thousands of violent acts, including the kidnapping and murder of Italian prime minister Aldo Moro. Many terrorists were and are well-educated (many 9/11 attackers had engineering degrees, the most recent string of bombings in Britain was perpetrated by a group including several doctors), so “educational upliftment” doesn’t seem to be the answer.

What we know about terrorists seems to indicate that they are disenfranchised from the society in which they live. Whether they choose to express it by joining a radical left-wing group, a radical right-wing group, or a radical Muslim group is completely unimportant (the disenfranchised would join any group that seeks them out). Statistically, the most likely cause of this disenfranchisement is parental neglect suffered between ages two and six (consider Osama bin Laden, who was one of 55 or so half-siblings born from 22 different mothers, but at no time did the old Mr. bin Laden have more than four wives, so the wives had to jockey for position to ensure a comfortable future for themselves and their children; a poster child for parental neglect, wouldn’t you say?)

The roots of terrorism (and almost any other antisocial behavior) lie in the family, not in the economy…

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