[LETTERS to the editor]Fight violence with jobs and educationThe Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime,” and empirical evidence supports his observation. It’s more than mere coincidence that the poorest regions in the world are the most conflict-prone. The Middle East, for example, is arguably the most dangerous and violent place in the world, a breeding ground for terrorism. In-depth research shows poverty and youth unemployment are the two most significant factors contributing to this.
At first glance, the Arab world may not seem like the poorest region in the world, but a closer look shows a different reality. The Arab world is the only area where productivity did not increase with a growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). The reason is much of the GDP growth in this region was driven by oil revenue, not by the productivity of Arab workers. The International Labor Organization reports the rate of unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa is 13.2 percent, even higher than sub-Saharan Africa. Unemployment is so severe that many give up looking for jobs and turn to militias and terrorist groups to vent their frustrations.
There are two effective means of solving this problem. The first is education for the youth. About 60 percent of the Arab world is under the age of 25. By empowering this vast population through education and arming them with skills rather than machine guns, the youth of the Middle East will cease to feel the necessity to turn to violence. Simultaneously, more jobs need to be created for Arab populations in order to give them a real chance to reach their potential.
While solving poverty alone will not guarantee the end of violence, it’s undeniable that wealth will make people less prone to turn to violence and risk everything they have worked hard for.
by Kim So-yeon