Does Poverty Serve as a Root Cause of Terrorism?

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Poverty can be described as the state of inadequacy or scarcity of certain amount of material procession and financial resources, (Cocciaet al., 58-165). It is a multisided concept that also includes lack of the socioeconomic, political and emotional elements. There are several types of poverty in the society today, and they tend to affect the way of living for those people afflicted. People affected by poverty in the society today range from temporary situations that are seasonal to abject poverty associated with homeless people and street families.

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“Does Poverty Serve as a Root Cause of Terrorism?”

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According to the World Bank (Global Monitoring Report), approximately over seven hundred million people lived in poverty, (Sawalhaet al., 183-202). About half of this population lived in sub-Saharan Africa.Itis estimated that half of the world children live in poverty. Some of the liberal approaches from global financial institutions have been blamed for the worsening of both poverty and inequality especially in developing economies.

In many instances, people living in poverty work hard to improve their financial situations and living conditions. Most people resort to indulge in income generating activities to improve their situations, however some resort to get-rich-quick schemes to escape the pangs of poverty. In most cases, the get-rich-quick schemes are not as lucrative as they seem and participants end up being conned by scammers, (Cocciaet al., 58-165). The purpose of this essay, therefore, is to analyze the role of poverty as a cause of terrorism in the world, its effects and some of the remedies that can be put in place to curb the rise of terrorism as a result of poverty.

Some of the major causes of poverty in the world today include poor infrastructure, corruption, and embezzlement of public funds by individuals in power, poor leadership structures especially in sub-Saharan Africa, unemployment, illnesses and lack of skills and training. These factors force people to live in conditions that they would have otherwise avoided had the circumstances changed in support their positive ambitions. As a result, brilliant young people faced with lack of opportunity and income sources resort to join terror groups not because they support the cause but so that their lives can improve.

Terrorism, on the other hand, can be described as the unlawful perpetration of violence and bullying carried out by sections of people mostly armed militia against innocent civilians, (Sawalhaet al., 183-202). The main aims of terror groups are to orchestrate violent attacks, abduction of civilians and looting/ destruction of property to fulfill political, religious and or ideological goals, (Cocciaet al., 58-165). Poverty has over the years been linked as one of the causes of terrorism in the world today. In most cases, the allure to join terror groups is juiced up by the promise of monetary gains and better living conditions for those who participate.

Terrorism has some of the most adverse effects on society in the world today; it is also one of the greatest contributors to the global poverty levels in the world today. Loss of lives is one of the major effects of terrorism. Considering data from terror attacks in the United States alone, hundreds of families are left without their loved ones as a result of terror attacks. Some of this lives lost happen to be the breadwinners of the families, and this reduces the remaining dependents to abject poverty.

In light of all this, the following are some of the major contributions of poverty as a cause of terrorism in the world today.

Supply of labor is one of the major boosters towards terrorism contributed by poverty, (Sawalhaet al., 183-202). Due to the lack of economic activities to indulge in, the otherwise idle youth rendered so by poverty act as the major labor inputs recruited by the terror cells and organizations. The youth from poor backgrounds are easy targets for recruitment. The growth of terrorism is anchored on the idea of deprivation of the majority to create a sense of better life in participating in terrorism.

The promise of remuneration. People living in poverty are always in the constant search and need for finances to better their living standards. As a result, well-funded terror organizations take advantage of the poverty situations to offer monetary rewards to participants from poor backgrounds. In most cases, these people are not able to rescind these offers since they have no better alternatives to do. Consequently, the financial situations of the members and their families are changed for the better while the terror groups also gain more members to join them, (Cocciaet al., 58-165).

Poverty in some regions is caused not by mere natural factors but is driven by artificial political ambitions of the ruling class in that society. As a result of poverty engineered by political interests, people are forced into involuntary poverty situations. The side effect of this type of poverty is the growth of resentment among the oppressed and consequent formation of terrorist organizations to fight the political bigwigs and avenger the poor situations that they have been forcedinto. Several terrorist groups all around the world have been formed as a result of political induced poverty to sections of the population.

Another major contribution of poverty towards the growth of terrorism is seen through the practice of harboring terrorists in poor residential areas. Refugee camps are some of the most notorious sites where terrorists can hide, recruit and plan terror attacks on a country. For example, the Dadaab refugee camp where Al-Shabaab terrorists were housed in the refugee tents and were able to plan and orchestrate an attack on a shopping mall in Kenya. People living in poverty are in most cases forced to hide and protect terrorists becausepoor residential eras are most often neglected by security forces, (Sawalhaet al., 183-202). Overpopulation and poor informal settlements also make it easier for terrorists to hide in plain sight. The promise of remuneration by the terrorist and neglect by government forces combined with resentment by poor residents provides a great avenue for terrorism activities to thrive.

Another major contribution of poverty towards terrorism can be seen through unemployment,(Cocciaet al., 58-165) the major cause of poverty in the world today is the lack of income-generating opportunities for the able population. As a result, most unemployed people especially the youth treat the opportunity to join terror groups as an employment opportunity and a potential source of income to improve their living conditions. A study carried out in the Palestinian population shows that there is a symbiotic relationship between poverty and terrorism in the sense that terror led to poverty situations but at the same time provided an avenue to alleviate the situation through offering financial support to the families of members that joined them.

As much as poverty serves as one of the causes of terrorism in the world today, several remedies to help curb the growth of terrorism as a result of poverty are available, (Sawalhaet al., 183-202). The first step towards remedying the situation is the investment in education sector. Most families in the poor sections of the world are not able to access funds to pay for tuition fees. However, through government intervention and subsidizing of educational cost, children from poor backgrounds will be able to access education. As a result, more attention will be given to education as an avenue towards getting out of poverty as opposed to terrorism. Access to education will also be able to enlighten people to learn the effects of terrorism on the society at large.

Equal distribution of resources is another remedy that can be applied to reduce poverty levels, promote a sense of belonging and reduce the contribution of poverty towards the growth of terrorism. Public resources when fairly distributed result in the creation of opportunities for the people living in poverty. A chance to access basic amenities will change the perspective of the poor towards leadership and will motivate them towards the building the nation.

In conclusion, therefore, poverty is one of the major contributors toward the growth and spread of terrorism in the world today. However, several remedies can be put in place to reduce the contribution of poverty towards terrorism. The people living in poverty are also human and can have their ideologies changed to a more positive approach, (Cocciaet al., 58-165). Therefore, the governments of the world should put in more efforts towards motivating the poor through education subsidies, employment opportunities and provision of aid to hard-hit areas.

Work cited

Coccia, Mario. “General Causes of Terrorism: High Population Growth in Problematic Society.” (2017). Sawalha, Ihab Hanna, and Ihab Hanna Sawalha. “A context-centered, root cause analysis of contemporary terrorism.” Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal 26.2 (2017): 183-202.

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Does Poverty Serve as a root cause of Terrorism?. (2018, Dec 27). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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