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Mullahs, Merchants, And Militants

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2006

    Don't Bother

    If you are looking for a book providing anaylsis on the economics of the Arab world, this is not it. The Arab world streches from Morraco to Iraq, yet the author only covers the handful of nations of the Levant. How does one understand the economics of the Arab world without exploring the oil industry of the Gulf nations, which dominates the economy and politics of the entire Middle East. The author's agenda is to blame the West in general and the US specifically for every problem in the region. Throughout the book he constantly pushes politically correct propaganda about Islam's peaceful history and tolerance and protection of other religious groups. The author paints a picture of an enlightend Islamo-Arab utopia that knew no malice until provoked by European Crusaders and colonization. And somehow the US is responsible now for what Europeans did then. In reality Islamic history is full of conquest, enslavement, violent coups, despotism, and pogroms. In this age of a global ecomomy, it is true that the politics and economics of the US (the richest nation) greatly influence the rest of the world. However, the author fails to consider the major factors contributing to Arab economic stagnation, such as cultural aversion to many types of work - low worker productivity compared to the rest of the world - geography that lacks diverse natural resources - cultural acceptance of corruption, graft, and nepotism at every level of government and business - religiously imposed finacial restrictions that are incompatible with modern banking systems - tribalism and sectarianism - the malaise that fell over the Arab world under the administration of the Ottomans (another Muslim empire). The author provides no depth of analysis. In fact, other than conveying the personal experiences and opinions of a few minor businessmen, this book isn't about economics at all. If you are looking for insight into economics of the Arab world don't waste your time with this book.

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