Monday, July 02, 2007

Londonistan Rising

Watching news of the “almost attacks” on Londonistan. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of “Déjà vu”, with a note of “I told you so”…

Genesis

One reading of recent history goes like this; as modern economies developed, the profits of big corporations were being threatened by rising wage demands from workers. So, in order to weaken labour, corporations pushed the government to favour immigration from less developed countries with fewer wage demands.

One downside was that the new arrivals concentrated in closed, low income enclaves, and cheap labour stayed cheap because their skills did not improve too much. But globalisation changed a few things, especially for the low skill end of the job market.

No longer limited to paying comparatively high wages for low skills back home, multinational corporations could shop around for even cheaper “deals” in less developed countries. Unable to adapt to the “dis-intermediating” and “de-industrializing”, the once vibrant low skill “labour dormitories” became cesspools of joblessness and despair. Their inhabitants were easier prey to firebrand preachers trained and funded by oil-rich countries with paper money to spare, and more concern for proselytizing than their own development.

To be sure, this is an oversimplified and tendentious reading of recent history, and the dynamics of modern economies are far more complex than any “import” tale can revealImmigration, while economically beneficial for host countries, can have hidden cost if mishandled.

This reading gives a decent idea of the hidden cost of "short-termist" thinking to British, French, or German cities

Déjà vu All over again

There is parallel in Lebanon, when we consider the Lebanese Palestinians Refugee camps.

The Location of the camps is no accident. Back during the 50’s and 60’s, the camps served as a valuable pool of cheap labour; Palestinians demanded far lower wages than the Lebanese, which helped break the back of a nascent Lebanese Union movement. But they also served as a ready recruiting ground for people like Arafat, Jibril… and now Fatah Al-Islam…

Incidentally, the same was done in the 1990’s, during Lebanon’s construction boom. But as the Syrian-controlled government(s) “forbade” Palestinian workers from working, they “facilitated” the employment of Syrian workers, and even gave citizenship to quite a few of them, all this to the detriment of Lebanese workers from Akkar and the South…

Tim McVeigh, Anyone?

In Europe, strong security means that terrorists have less access to material and training. So the “bad” neighbourhoods are no fortified camps, but all the same; it takes much less to disrupt more complex economies. In this case, the bombs may have failed because propane is not as good an explosive as C4.

Yet, for all the "good news", bear in mind that the systems were quite creative to start with. For some, those McGyver reruns were not a complete waste of time. And the will is certainly there, with those eager young minds are learning from one another; the next shoe bomber will not use matches…

What you do not yet know can hurt you; not all of those minds are foreign; most, like the London Bombers, are home-grown products with an axe to grind.

What you poorly understand can hurt you even more. Profiling will not help much on the long run; many others, like Tim Mc Veigh in the United States, would be “pure bred” products with another axe to grind…

On the long run, no single group has a monopoly on fundamentalism and terror... Indeed, it is still true that "Gouverner, c'est prévoir"...


5 comments:

naja said...

Jeha, much as I enjoy your blog, it's getting more and more difficult to read, what with all the vaguely relevant pictures, underlined links and highlighted text. Too much of a good thing, I feel. Just a thought.

g said...

J,
I think that few would argue that poverty is closely associated with illegal activities and that it provides fertile breeding grounds for many social problems. (Some are even attributing the increasing disparity in income in the US to the different attitudes of females in each income class towards sex). But to make the jump that it is poverty and its despair that brings about fundamentalism requires a huge jump based on "faith". I am of the opinion that poverty will make recruiting under some circumstances easier but that the poor are not any more eager than the rest of us to kill themselves. Actually the record favours the opposite conclusion. The economically comfortable and the educated are often the ones that have the luxury to blame a system, develop hatred towards it and act upon their hatred. Witness OBL Dr. Zawahiri, The 19 September 11 perps and even the last attempt at car bombing in London.
As in everything else the reason for any phenomenon is often much more complex than what we portray it to be. I am not suggesting that poverty has nothing to do with social problems, research has demonstrated that it does, but I am strongly suggesting that Jihadists/Islamists will at times prey at the poor but that more often than not poverty is not a sufficient motive, it needs to be combined with a greater cause that is more likely to be provided by the wealthy and educated. As in everything else the relationship is not linear but it is dialectical.

BTW, do you think that there are many readers besides those my age and I guess maybe yours who understand your very clever reference to McGyver ???

Amos said...

Haha. Love the political spectrum graphic.

The terrorists may not be homegrown after all. We'll see when more details are revealed.

I don't think it makes sense to focus on immigration per se as the problem. Hindu immigrants from India are not bombing London subways; are they less ghettoized than the Pakistanis?

I favor an explanation based on ideology tout court, rather than socio-economic explanations.

amir in tel aviv said...

1)I agree with Amos: "..I don't think it makes sense to focus on immigration per se as the problem ; ...I favor an explanation based on ideology".

2)What worries me, is the reaction to this ideology of neo-Jihad. It will definitely be a rise of counter ideology, Christian one. As the war of religions widens and progresses, white Europeans will turn to Christianity for guidance and answers.
As a Jew, this means trouble. Jews always suffered more from Christians, than from Muslims.
.

Nobody said...

One reading of recent history goes like this; as modern economies developed, the profits of big corporations were being threatened by rising wage demands from workers. So, in order to weaken labour, corporations pushed the government to favour immigration from less developed countries with fewer wage demands.

as you rightly noticed the theory sucks and for no other reason but an easily observable fact that the most vocal pro immigration voices come from the left and liberal camps that almost violently object any attempt to organize mass deportations of illegal migrants or deny asylum for asylum seekers .. these groups and the tyranny of political correctness they imposed on the media are by far more responsible for the disaster of uncontrolled immigration than any big capital or whoever ...

and never mind that it's basically the same groups that ideologically oppose big capital and support working classes