Why do terrorists hate us so much that they are willing, even eager, to die while inflicting upon us tremendous strife and devastation? Many are asking this question. Most answers I hear are related to religion, ethnicity and perceived victimization.
All these, no doubt, play a role. But I believe that main cause of terrorism is resentment. Most terrorists come from extremely poor countries. They see how we in rich countries live, and are resentful. Resentment turns into frustration and eventually despair. A despairing person is easy prey to radical fanatics.
If resentment is cause, reducing resentment should decrease number of terrorists and thus help win fight against terrorism. How do we do this? We need a multi-prong strategy. But for people in business, answer is: By building an anti-terrorism economy featuring anti-terrorism businesses. What will anti-terrorism businesses be like? They will enshrine concept of helpfulness and apply it in a big way to individuals and companies in poor countries of world. This is not idealism. This is a practical way for business people to fight terrorism while at same time strengthening their own bottom line.
Resentment Breeds Terrorism
In free world we have richest countries in world. Their peoples have mastered arts and sciences. They have developed sophisticated technologies, products, systems and services that fuel their vibrant economies. They have produced millionaires and billionaires. They live in big houses and have a plethora of gadgets to reduce drudgery, keep them mobile, and supply entertainment. Life is good!
In contrast, people in poor countries, are not too gainfully employed, live in thatched or mud huts (if they have a home at all), don't have enough money to buy food, and are subject to floods, disease, AIDS, and brutal neighbors. Life is fiendish.
The rich countries have perhaps 15% of Earth's population. Yet they produce 88% of users of Internet. Many of remaining 85% of people in world have never used a telephone.
Religion is not primary cause of terrorism. Poor, frustrated people turn to religion for solace. However, there is a limit to amount of solace they may get if they have nothing to eat. So they become radicals. They become terrorists. What do they have to lose? They become martyrs.
How to Reduce Resentment
There will always be some resentment of rich and powerful people and of rich and powerful nations. But amount and intensity of resentment may be reduced greatly if poor people and countries become more prosperous.
Yes, rich countries have established IMF and World Bank to help poor countries. But every time these financial institutions offer a loan it comes with such tough conditions that rarely can a country abide by them and still grow its economy.
The trouble with these financial institutions is that they are based on principle:
> The rich should help poor
The implication is that rich know best what to do and how to do it. They feel superior because they are helping these inferior people. For poor countries to be made more prosperous we must use following principle:
> The rich should enable poor to help themselves
Instead of making plans, allow them to make their own plans. Instead of teaching them how to do things, set up an environment that enables them to learn. Instead of selling them sophisticated technology, help them develop their own technology.
Build a world economy that fights terrorism by making economy as inclusive as possible, thus enabling poor countries to grow and prosper. This will produce more optimistic people, people less eager to become terrorists and martyrs.
Take a look at our recent economies;
1 - INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY - We had an industrial economy only in rich countries. Poor countries were used primarily to obtain raw materials for use in industrial products for rich. Colonialism subjugated and impoverished poor countries further.
2 - NEW ECONOMY - Some called it Information Economy. I called it Learning Economy. But again, primarily rich were part of this economy. Poor countries, who were hungering for information and learning, did not have wherewithal to participate.