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Financial Aid Alone Won't Solve the Problem But...

Reader comment on item: God and Mammon

Submitted by Joel Davidson (United States), May 22, 2002 at 01:53

This was a fascinating article and it certainly does point out many reasons why money alone will not help the situation. (Pipes has largely changed my thinking here). However, I have one comment and two questions:

Comment: "Revolutions take place, it has often been noted, only when a substantial middle class exists" (Pipes). In fact, however, the Leninist-Russian revolution occurred in an extremely poor nation with almost no middle class. Marx believed the revolution would occur first in a more industrialized nation with a substantial working class, but it didn't.

Question 1: If it is not the poor, in general, who become Islamists, is it possible that creating a more stable economy and more democratic government (I agree that a rich dictatorship is not in our interests) would enable the poor to lock up the Islamist terrorists more easily? Certainly they'd have more time to police, etc.

Question 2: Isn't there a humanitarian benefit in helping the poor of other nations, regardless of whether it solves our terrorism problems? I agree that if aid makes terrorism much worse, it will in the long-run hurt the recipients because we will eventually have to attack the country to get to the terrorists. But if it doesn't dramatically increase terror, helping millions of people is a worthwhile goal.

I look forward to reading more stimulating essays. Thanks!


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