Advertisement

Public Choice

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 199–220 | Cite as

Radicalization as a reaction to failure: An economic model of Islamic extremism

  • Mario Ferrero
Article

Abstract

This paper views Islamist radicals as self-interested political revolutionaries and builds on a general model of political extremism developed in a previous paper (Ferrero, 2002). Extremism is modelled as a production factor whose effect on expected revenue is initially positive and then turns negative, and whose level is optimally chosen by a revolutionary organization. The organization is bound by a free-access constraint and hence uses the degree of extremism as a means of indirectly controlling its level of membership with the aim of maximizing expected per capita income of its members, like a producer co-operative. The gist of the argument is that radicalization may be an optimal reaction to perceived failure (a widespread perception in the Muslim world) when political activists are, at the margin, relatively strongly averse to effort but not so averse to extremism. This configuration is at odds with secular, Western-style revolutionary politics but seems to capture well the essence of Islamic revolutionary politics, embedded as it is in a doctrinal framework.

Keywords

General Model Public Finance Capita Income Economic Model Production Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Armstrong, K. (2001). Was it inevitable? Islam through history. In J.F. Hoge and G. Rose (Eds.), How did this happen? Terrorism and the new war, 53–70. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
  2. Boroumand, L. and Boroumand, R. (2002). Terror, Islam, and democracy. Journal of Democracy 13: 5–20.Google Scholar
  3. David, P. (2003). In the name of God: A survey of Islam and the west. The Economist, September 13.Google Scholar
  4. Doran, M.S. (2002). Somebody else’s civil war. Foreign Affairs 81: 22–42.Google Scholar
  5. Ferrero, M. (1999). A model of the political enterprise. Working Paper no. 9. Department of Public Policy and Public Choice (POLIS), University of Eastern Piedmont.Google Scholar
  6. Ferrero, M. (2002). The political life cycle of extremist organizations. In A. Breton, G. Galeotti, P. Salmon and R. Wintrobe (Eds.), Political extremism and rationality, 155–182. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Ferrero, M. (2004). Revolution or reform? Socialism’s dilemma as a rational choice problem. Homo Oeconomicus(forthcoming).Google Scholar
  8. Fuller, G. (2002). The future of political Islam. Foreign Affairs 81: 48–60.Google Scholar
  9. Grossman, H.I. (1991). A general equilibrium model of insurrections. American Economic Review 81: 912–921.Google Scholar
  10. Grossman, H.I. (1999). Kleptocracy and revolutions. Oxford Economic Papers 51: 267–283.Google Scholar
  11. Hassan, N. (2001). An arsenal of believers. The New Yorker, November 19, 36–41.Google Scholar
  12. Iannaccone, L.R. (1992). Sacrifice and stigma: Reducing free-riding in cults, communes, and other collectives. Journal of Political Economy 100: 271–291.Google Scholar
  13. Iannaccone, L.R. (1997). Toward an economic theory of ‘Fundamentalism’. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 153: 100–116.Google Scholar
  14. Laqueur, W. (2001). Left, right, and beyond. The changing face of terror. In J.F. Hoge and G. Rose (Eds.), How did this happen? Terrorism and the new war, 71–82. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
  15. Lemann, N. (2001). What terrorists want. The New Yorker, October 29, 36–41.Google Scholar
  16. Lewis, B. (2001). The revolt of Islam. The New Yorker, November 19, 50–63.Google Scholar
  17. Piscatori, J. (2002). The turmoil within. Foreign Affairs 81: 145–150.Google Scholar
  18. Rodinson, M. (1967). Islam et capitalisme, Paris.Google Scholar
  19. Shikaki, K. (2002). Palestinians divided. Foreign Affairs 81: 89–105.Google Scholar
  20. Stern, J. (2000). Pakistan’s Jihad culture. Foreign Affairs 79: 115–126.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Policy and Public Choice (POLIS)University of Eastern PiedmontAlessandriaItaly

Personalised recommendations