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02/05/2006

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Arun Khanna

Professor Becker notes: "I believe the probability that they will elect to promote economic progress is being greatly underestimated."

It's not the probability of Hamas' focus on economic progress that is being underestimated. Economic progress of a small economy like West Bank and Gaza involves relatively open borders for trade with countries in the region. It's the probability of a Hamas led government focusing on open borders which is low since it implicitly requires stopping all terrorist attacks.

Grandma Lausch

I don't think Hamas's political survival depends on its ability to provide a 'significant economic improvement in the lot of the typical Palestinian family'. It is clear that much of support is due to the lack of any better alternative with Fatah discredited through corruption and ineptitude.
This pattern is common in societies in transition. Putin is a lot more popular in Russia than Yeltsin despite the ongoing onslaught on democracy; few want a return to the chaos and demagoguery of the 1990s.
In Afghanistan Taliban's medieval rule was largely prefered to various regional and ethnic warlords despite total lack of economic progress.
And any time Hamas detects signs of discontent in their population, they can start a new intifada to channel anger against Israel

Robert Bok

Why are you assuming that Hamas' utility function is similar to that for (other?) democratic governments?

Given the past activities of Hamas, does it makes sense to assume that, at the margin, they value economic progress over the destruction of Israel? Many of their (late) members do not even value their own lives over the destruction of a handful of random Israelis on a bus or in a restaurant!

Andreas Holmer

Fatah lost the election, not so much because Hamas proved the better alterative, but because Fatah provided the benefit of the doubt. Provided that future elections are not obstructed, and that Hamas wants to retain power, they will have to succeed were Fatah failed. That much said, I think the real issue lies in whether Hamas values the destruction of Israel over economic progress in Palestine. If they do, theyÔøΩll end up alienating voters and loose the next election.

Furthermore, I'd think anyone hard pressed to find potential suicide bombers among Hamas political leaders as suggested above.

Josh Doherty

"...I believe the probability that they will elect to promote economic progress is being greatly underestimated."

The assumption behind this statement is that Hamas is being led by rational people. If that were the case then I would agree. However, defining your existence based upon the destruction of another society is not rational and not sustainable for a society. The sad part is that the regime will last longer than a "market" of democracy would allow becuase there are funding sources which enrich the rulers of Hmas at the expense of the economic development of it followers.

Orin Larson

Nothing posted here addresses the importance of Iseral's actions and reactions. I don't belive they are all interested in a successful Hmas. Weakness and corruption benefit Iseral in the short term.

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