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Berman, Eli
Radical, religious, and violent : the new economics of terrorism / Eli Berman
Alternate Title New economics of terrorism
Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, c2009
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 3rd Floor  HV6431 .B478 2009    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Terrorism
Terrorism -- Economic aspects
Terrorism -- Religious aspects
Violence -- Religious aspects
Religious militants
Physical Description xi, 300 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [273]-284) and index
Contents Why are religious terrorists so lethal? Hezbollah -- The Taliban -- Hamas -- The lethality of religious radicals -- What motivates terrorists? The afterlife and other myths -- Terrorist organizations, why so few? -- Internal economies and organizational efficiency -- What's coming? -- The defection constraint -- Origins of the Taliban -- trade routes and defection -- Coordinated assault -- Terrorism and defection: Hamas -- The Jewish underground: terrorists who overreached -- Hezbollah and suicide attacks -- The Mahdi army in Iraq -- Sects, prohibitions, and mutual aid: the organizational secrets of religious radicals -- Prohibitions and sacrifices: the benign puzzles -- Where are the dads? -- Mutual aid -- Prohibitions and clubs -- Evidence -- Fertility -- Pronatalist prohibitions -- Radical Islam and fertility -- Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: Subsidized sacrifice -- Madrassas -- Subsidized prohibitions and fertility -- How many radical Islamists? -- The Hamas model: why religious radicals are such effective terrorists: The "Hamas model" -- Origins of the model -- Hamas -- Social Service provision by the Taliban, Hezbollah, and al-Sadr -- Why religious radicals are such lethal terrorists -- Terrorist clubs -- Evidence -- When terrorists fail -- Clubs and violence without religion -- Gratuitous cruelty -- Objections -- Why suicide attacks? -- Rebels, insurgents, and terrorists -- Suicide attacks -- Evidence -- Coreligionists are soft targets -- Clubs -- Alternative explanations -- The future of suicide attacks -- Constructive counterterrorism: How terrorist clubs succeed -- Constructive counterterrorism -- What's wrong with the old-fashioned methods? -- Where to start? -- The Malayan Precedent -- Religious radicals and violence in the modern world: Radical Christians, benign and violent -- The supernatural and credibility -- Markets and denominations -- Jewish and Muslim denominations -- What's wrong with religion in government? Competition and pluralism -- Not about us -- What's our role? -- Analytical Appendix: The defection constraint -- Clubs, loyalty, and outside options -- Suicide attacks vs. hard targets -- Protecting hard targets by improving outside options
Summary How do radical religious sects run such deadly terrorist organizations? Hezbollah, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Taliban all began as religious groups dedicated to piety and charity. Yet once they turned to violence, they became horribly potent, executing campaigns of terrorism deadlier than those of their secular rivals. In Radical, Religious, and Violent, Eli Berman approaches the question using the economics of organizations. He first dispels some myths: radical religious terrorists are not generally motivated by the promise of rewards in the afterlife (including the infamous seventy-two virgins) or even by religious ideas in general. He argues that these terrorists (even suicide terrorists) are best understood as rational altruists seeking to help their own communities. Yet despite the vast pool of potential recruits--young altruists who feel their communities are repressed or endangered--there are less than a dozen highly lethal terrorist organizations in the world capable of sustained and coordinated violence that threatens governments and makes hundreds of millions of civilians hesitate before boarding an airplane. What's special about these organizations, and why are most of their followers religious radicals? Drawing on parallel research on radical religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Berman shows that the most lethal terrorist groups have a common characteristic: their leaders have found a way to control defection. Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban, for example, built loyalty and cohesion by means of mutual aid, weeding out "free riders" and producing a cadre of members they could rely on. The secret of their deadly effectiveness lies in their resilience and cohesion when incentives to defect are strong. These insights suggest that provision of basic social services by competent governments adds a critical, nonviolent component to counterterrorism strategies. It undermines the violent potential of radical religious organizations without disturbing free religious practice, being drawn into theological debates with Jihadists, or endangering civilians

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