I have always thought that at very low levels of both, most people would choose political freedom over economic freedom. I still think so. It looks like people of J&K have more than very low levels of both. They told a ‘pleasantly surprised’ PM, that they wanted call centres and couldn’t care as much for azadi (political independence). An industry delegation even suggested to him that he put Kashmir on the IT map and make it a BPO hub. “The delegates said that Kashmir had skilled manpower and wanted BPO sector and call centres in the Valley.” This would come as an eye opener to many a nationalist who would see this as crass commercial concerns over independence of the mother land.

Milton friedman had suggested that economic freedom has a negative correlation with terrorism. “It (Economic Freedom) is also a tonic against terrorism because of the opportunity it creates. All of the nations behind global terrorism lack economic freedom.” More recently Alberto Abadie of JFK school of government at Harvard established a negative correlation between political freedom and terrorism. Read the whole paper here.

Many reports hailed his study for apparently “debunking the long held assumption that poverty leads to terrorism”. Economic freedom is certainly different from wealth. Latter is a parameter in Abadie’s study. Former isn’t. Besides, the fact that “he found no significant relationship between a nation’s wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences” is hardly surprising considering most of terrorism is of foreign origin.

Tail end: Antidote to terrorism is more freedom- economic and Political. Antidote.

Post Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.