November's Comment of the Month was sent in by Sarah Standish of Portland, Oregon. Sarah commented on Alok Amatya's post Dairy Cows Fight Terrorism in Fallujah. She offers an alternate look at the relationship between job creation and terrorism. Sarah also wisely points out the need to look at more than one source of information before drawing conclusions. For her efforts, we will make a $25 donation to a project of her choice on Global Giving.
This Wall Street Journal blog post mentions that one study suggested that job creation may not necessarily reduce terrorist attacks:
When unemployment declined in Iraq and the Philippines, violence increased. The scholars say that one reason for this is that government forces may be able to pay off locals for tips on guerrillas more cheaply when unemployment is high. Another possibility is military crackdowns may increase unemployment, because communities are walled off, but reduce attacks by insurgents.
These ideas should definitely provoke us to think carefully about the relationship between violence and job creation, but I don't think they present any compelling reasons to stop focusing on job creation. It sounds to me like the authors have noticed an interesting phenomenon but don't know quite how to explain it yet. In a complicated issue like this one, a single study is probably not enough to draw any absolute conclusions.
Keep writing in and share your though-provoking comments for a chance to win $25 towards the well-deserving charity of your choice!
* Lest anyone think $25 is not a lot, consider these figures from our affiliate Mercy Corps: $25 delivers clean, safe drinking water to 50 people in one of eastern Congo's sprawling displacement camps. $25 provides seeds to farmers in cyclone-devastated areas of Myanmar to plant five acres of rice. $25 gives traumatized children in Darfur 12 weeks of activities and psychological care to help them heal.