The political economy of cynicism: What else could you do with $100,000 in Pakistan?

I’m generally not big on entering into the fray when it comes to the politics of the Muslim world, since I’m not an expert on the topic.  But I am an expert on political economy and coalition behavior is contested spaces.  The news of Pakistan’s Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour’s $100,000 reward to anyone who murders Nakoula Basseley Nakoula piqued my interest since there’s some excellent general political economy and coalition management at work in his offer.

I pointed out in this post that this violence is not a function of Islam, it’s a function of political power projection and coalition management.  If there was an example of something that highlighted this, Bilour’s offer is a good example.  There’s economic power (Bilour has $100,000 to give away), and political power and coalition building (Bilour is happy to give the money to Al Qaeda or the Taliban).  There’s not really anything about Islam in this behavior though.  Bilour et al aren’t citing Koranic text, and from a political economic perspective the Muslim world at large doesn’t get much marginal utility from Bilour’s decision to spend $100,000 on a hit man.

I try to be objective in my writing, but I’ll set that aside in light of this news.  There’s a great deal of good that could be done with $100,000 in Pakistan.  There are health, education and social issues that would benefit from that money.  But that’s not what Bilour and his allies are interested in.  While the West has hardly been a clean actor in the politics of the Muslim world, Bilour and his cohort’s behavior continues to show they’re equally happy to engage in cynical opportunism at the cost of actually doing something for the people they represent as members of government and fellow Muslims.

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