Why Europe Has to Offer a Better Deal Towards its Muslim Communities: A Quantitative Analysis of Open International Data
456 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2007 Last revised: 21 Jul 2008
Date Written: March 2007
While there is a never-ending debate on Islamism, Islamist terrorism and the identity of Europe vis-à-vis growing Muslim communities in Europe, there are hardly any solid cross-national data being presented on the real extent of the Islamist threat facing Europe, and on the social conditions that lead to Islamist radicalism. By and large, our rigorous quantitative results, based on the first systematic use of the Muslim community data contained in the European Social Survey (ESS) all support a socio-liberal view of migration and integration, compatible with much of the rest of current European political economic thinking regarding the future alternatives for the European Union, and contradict the very extended current alarmist political discourse in Western Europe.
First we show with new data that the much hailed European social model is a myth, when you compare poverty rates in OECD countries and in Europe on the basis of absolute income data, and not just poverty lines in terms of national means. The more that absolute poverty grows in Western Europe, largely due to failed integration policies, and due to the fact that the European Union expands and takes in new members characterized by low average incomes and large scale poverty rates of their own, the old national and relative poverty lines (in terms of 60% of the national median) become obsolete.
As large scale poverty of Europe's Muslim communities threatens to grow, political radicalism might fall on a fertile ground. But we present materials, based on the ESS that give strong support to the hypothesis that passive support for Islamist radicalism in Europe and the complete distrust in democracy does not exceed 400.000 persons. We also compare our research results with the recent PEW data. By and large, the two datasets yield the same results. Regrettable as Islamist extremism in Europe might be, it is a far way from alarmist views that present Islam in Europe as such as being incompatible with the future of democracy. We also find strong evidence that Muslim communities in Europe are not different from other religious communities in their tendency towards secularism. We also find that Muslim economic and social alienation in Europe very much corresponds to deficiencies of the implementation of the Lisbon process. Using the ESS cross-national and quantitative data, we first estimate a new UNDP-type index of Muslim development in Europe, based on
* the percentage of the Muslim community living above poverty * the percentage of the Muslim community expressing trust in democracy * the percentage of the Muslim community expressing trust in the legal system * the percentage of the Muslim community expressing trust in parliament * the percentage of the Muslim community expressing trust in the police
Likewise, we construct another UNDP type index, which we call Muslim empowerment index, which measures
* a small difference in the percentage of the non-Muslim communities and the Muslim community of a European country living above poverty * a small difference in the percentage of the non-Muslim communities and the Muslim community of a European country expressing trust in democracy * a small difference in the percentage of the non-Muslim communities and the Muslim community of a European country expressing trust in the legal system * a small difference in the percentage of the non-Muslim communities and the Muslim community of a European country expressing trust in parliament * a small difference in the percentage of the non-Muslim communities and the Muslim community of a European country expressing trust in the police
Also, indices of growth over time between the ESS surveys 2002 and 2004 for these two basic indices are being constructed. Indicator performance closely correlates with a combined European Union Lisbon strategy index, which was already presented elsewhere in the literature (Tausch, 2006; Tausch and Heshmati, 2006). The performances of the ESS countries are also compared with indicators of economic growth and gender empowerment, and ESS data are used to construct also a Muslim Human Development Index for several European countries.
In this publication, we then draw some optimistic, socio-liberal conclusions about Islam in the world system. Countering some alarmist voices in the West, neither migration nor Muslim culture are to be blamed for the contemporary crisis, but the very nature of unequal capitalist accumulation and dependency that is at the core of the world capitalist system.
For one, our analysis is based on current thinking on Kondratiev waves of world political development inherent in recent work by IIASA and the NATO Institute for Advanced Studies. We also present analyses in the framework of the debate on cross-national determinants of human well-being in the world system. While we are cautiously optimistic about a socio-liberal, non-interventionist policy alternative, we come to the conclusion that present patterns of global governance, modeled around the neo-liberal Washington Consensus and American hyperpower, are doomed to failure.
In the second part of our analysis, we first present a rigorous re-analysis of United States Department of State data on acts of global terrorism in the framework of Kondratiev cycle waves. We then proceed to an analysis of the determinants of economic growth and ecological and social development in 140 nations with complete data.
The data presented show that before the present war in Iraq the global war on terrorism already showed very positive effects, and that the strong linear downward trend in global terrorism, to be observed during the last two decades, coincided with rising globalization in both the centers and the peripheries of the world system, and that the percentage of people with less than 2 $ a day even declined in the Middle East and North Africa. We also found no systematic interaction between the differentials of growth in the center and the periphery or inequality differentials in the center and the periphery and patterns of global terrorism. I. e. a western socio-liberal, multi-lateral and non-interventionist policy could have won the fight against international terrorism. We then refute empirically the Huntington hypothesis about the incompatibility of Islam and successful socio-economic development.
Our publication re-establishes the notion that capitalist development is of cyclical nature, with strong fluctuations every 50 years. For us 1756, 1832, 1885, 1932 and 1975 are the beginnings of new Kondratiev waves, while 1756, 1774, 1793, 1812, 1832, 1862, 1885, 1908, 1932, 1958, 1975, and 1992 are the turning points (troughs) of the Kuznets cycles. Vigorous upswings of the capitalist world economy need to be supported by a tightly organized new world political hegemonic order, while the strength of the downswings and the severity of the depressions always are a function of the waning world political order. We show the fatal interconnection between these world political and world economic tsunami waves in a more systematic fashion. In the most recent phase of capitalism, its Casino character becomes ever more apparent, with a sharp distinction between the winners and losers of the system.
Winning the war against global terrorism would imply arriving at more inclusive and less unilateralist structures of global governance. While our analysis on world development 1990 2003 shows the detrimental effects of dependency and globalization on the social and ecological balances of the world, data on membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference or Muslims per cent of total population were compared in their effects on a number of dependent variables of socio-economic development in 140 countries of the world with complete data:
* economic growth, 1990-2003 * eco-social market economy (GDP output per kg energy use) * female economic activity rate as % of male economic activity rate * freedom from % people not expected to survive age 60 * freedom from a high quintile ratio (share of income/consumption richest 20% to poorest 20%) * freedom from civil liberty violations, 1998 * freedom from high CO2 emissions per capita * freedom from political rights violations,1998 * human development Index * life expectancy, 1995-2000
Ceteris paribus, Muslim culture (measured by the percentage of Muslims in the respective population of a given country) significantly and positively affects the human rights record, human development, and the ecological balances.
Further dispelling irrational immigration-phobias and Islamophobia in general, the present work also shows that, by and large, pretty much the same functions of key (positive or negative) UNDP development indicators (y-axis) hold in comparison with purchasing power per capita (x-axis) in the Muslim world and the non-Muslim countries.
It is shown furthermore that the analysis of the new UN data on migration balances per total population in over 100 countries also supports the socio-liberal view that ceteris paribus, not only Islam, but also inward migration are very much compatible with successful and egalitarian patterns of development. While neo-liberal globalization, ceteris paribus, contributes to the social polarization of the host countries of transnational capital penetration, Muslim communities or membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference are to be regarded as socially stabilizing and growth enhancing factors.
Thus a new, socio-liberal global consensus on global migration, global order and global governance could emerge.
Keywords: Index numbers, labor discrimination, economic integration, economic development - general, comparative studies of countries, Cross-Section Models, Income Distribution, Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - General, International Economic Order, Inequality, Economic Integration
JEL Classification: C43, J70, F15, O10, O57, C21, D31, E30, F02
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation