Washington Post: Inequality is a central factor of Middle East terrorism!

Thomas Piketty
Thomas Piketty

…by Jonas E. Alexis


Sometimes you just have to shake your head in disbelief when you read what is passing for scholarship and genuine reporting today. As Jim W. Dean would put it, you just can’t make those things up because they are too stupid and crazy. The Washington Post reported at the end of last year that

“Inequality is a major driver of Middle Eastern terrorism, including the Islamic State attacks on Paris earlier this month — and Western nations have themselves largely to blame for that inequality.”[1]

Where did they get this breakthrough? From Thomas Piketty. Piketty a “is  professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), associate chair at the Paris School of Economics and Centennial professor at the London School of Economics new International Inequalities Institute.”

Piketty is not stupid. He must know that the Neoconservatives have largely destroyed the Middle East through perpetual wars and bloodshed. He is almost certainly aware of the scholarly studies on this.[2]

But because Piketty is part of a machine which divides people into basically two categories—Marxism/Socialism and Capitalism—he has to produce one implausible scenario after another.

As the New York Times puts it, Piketty is an “intellectual superstar or rock star,”[3] and people like that are more interested in either pleasing the oligarchic rule or following an ideology. They want to be hip or cool.

The New York Times has suggested that people like Piketty are looking for “longstanding status,” an enterprise which has been going on since the days of Susan Sontag, Christopher Lasch, and more recently Francis Fukuyama and Samantha Power.[4]

Even from an economic point of view, the issue is not Marxism/Socialism vs. Capitalism. As E. Michael Jones has meticulously argued in his magnum opus Barren Metal: The History of Capitalism as the Conflict Between Labor and Usury, the real issue has always revolved around labor and usury.

People like Piketty cannot put the economic equations in those terms because that would ruin their Marxist ideology. How else would he be accepted in oligarchic circles like the IMF?

In short, one can say that Piketty is wrong about Marxism and the real issues in the Middle East. He agrees with the fact that Western powers have a hand in which the Middle East is loused up. He writes,

“These are the regimes that are militarily and politically supported by Western powers, all too happy to get some crumbs to fund their [soccer] clubs or sell some weapons. No wonder our lessons in social justice and democracy find little welcome among Middle Eastern youth.”[5]

But does he address the actual people who are pushing for those perpetual wars?

Obviously not. He knows pretty well that focusing on the real perpetrators will strip him of his “intellectual superstar” status. Look at what happened to Dennis Rancourt of the University of Toronto, Anthony J. Hall of the University of Lethbridge, Norman Finkelstein of DePaul University, etc.

So, instead of accentuating on the actual issue, Piketty began to posit the unthinkable: “Terrorism that is rooted in inequality, Piketty continues, is best combated economically.”[6]

The Israeli regime obviously loves people like Piketty because Piketty takes Benjamin Netanyahu off the hook. If the issue really hinges on economics, why do we still have concentration camps in Gaza? Why haven’t Western nations placed sanctions on Israel for continuing to liquidate precious Palestinian men, women and children? Can Piketty solve that puzzle for us?

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[1] Jim Tankersley, “This might be the most controversial theory for what’s behind the rise of ISIS,” Washington Post, January 30, 2015.

[2] See John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar & Straus, 2008); Paul R. Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011); Michael MacDonald, Overreach: Delusions of Regime Change in Iraq (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014); John M. Schuessler, Deceit on the Road to War: Presidents, Politics, and American Democracy (New York: Cornell University Press, 2015); John J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Murray Friedman, The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

[3] Sam Tanenhaus, “Hey, Big Thinker: Thomas Piketty, the Economist Behind ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ Is the Latest Overnight Intellectual Sensation,” NY Times, April 25, 2014.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Tankersley, “This might be the most controversial theory for what’s behind the rise of ISIS,” Washington Post, January 30, 2015.

[6] Ibid.


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