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Would Capitalism Lead to Middle East Peace?

Over the past few years, the world has witnessed revolt after revolt in the “Arab world”. Revolutions have taken place in Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and Lebanon. A new Muslim caliphate has been declared. Hamas has attacked Israel.

Would a little more free enterprise have stemmed the tide of anarchy? Economist Guy Sorman says yes. In a fascinating article in CapX, he writes about how popular capitalism is at the root of Islam and the Arab world – and that it is also the key to emerging from the misery and chaos of today.

Here is one point he makes:

The civil wars between sects and tribes in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon – or ready to explode in Algeria or Morocco – would certainly not have erupted in an environment of economic prosperity. The Islamist parties which seized power in Egypt and Tunisia, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, proved no better than the dictators they had replaced, as they did not understand that economics was the people’s priority. Facilitating popular capitalism would have been the way to go. Mohammad Morsi, for example, was dismissed by his own supporters after demonstrating his administration’s incapacity to tame food inflation and spur inclusive and balanced growth.

Now, I personally do not think the economic motive accounts for all the unrest in the Arab world. For example, I think the 9/11 attacks on the US were based on hate, and contempt for “infidels” on the part of militants. Yet at the same time, I do believe in the yearning of every man and woman for economic opportunity.

Ed Krayewski of Reason Magazine agrees with Guy that there can be no peace in the Middle East as long as the governments in that region repress the economic ambitions of their people.

Take a look at both articles. They are quick reads. How much of a factor do you feel the economic motive plays in this unrest?