Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday TED Talk: Loretta Napoleoni on the Economics of Terrorism

Italian economist Loretta Napoleoni lays out, in sixteen short minutes, the basis for her conclusion that terrorism operates just like any other business, seeking to exclude its competitors and to maximize profits. To fund her research, which began when she was allowed to interview the head of Italy's infamous Red Brigade, she sold her own company and then traveled around the world gaining access to terrorist groups who were only too happy to confirm their methods and goals with her:

You can view Loretta Napoleoni's Web page here, with a link to the book (Rogue Economics) which resulted from her research. There is a brief bio here, and the high-resolution version of her talk may be watched here. Download her talk in that and other versions from this link.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these each week. Good for the brain. Glad I got to listen to this one (hey, with subzero temps it's nice to stay in!)

    I was taken by her point that the leaders of different terror groups avoid ideological discussions and only do practical business. Makes sense, of course, when you have EuroComs dealing with Islamicists.

    It also points up the hypocrisy in terrorism today - it is fueled by pointing out the corruption in its target nations, while at the same time suspending its own "value system" in order to get logistical support.

    How is a Communist who works with an Islamicist any different from what went on in Iran-Contra? Oh well, I guess the fact that since one is a terrorist, one has no legal framework to violate. Like when amoral people point out all the hypocrisy of the moral.