Excerpts of a conversation I had today on another social network
Let's not forget that the 9/11 and 7/7 suicide bombers were highly educated. They were far from poor as well. Bin Laden was an engineer, educated in the best western universities. Do you think the ISIS leaders are poor or uneducated? Do you think the jihadists who left Sweden to fight in Syria are poor and ignorant? They are usually born in Sweden and have been educated like any other European. Ignorance and poverty are also fallacies when you deal with religion.
People always refuse to blame religion for some strange reason. "Oh, the problem is poverty" or "yeah, the problem is the lack of education"—or even "it's just the result of western foreign policy" (which is the worst kind of bullcrap). These are scapegoats. Apart from being plainly wrong statements, they help the jihadists and other cretins. "Haha, let the liberals try to find a reason for our death cult. In the meanwhile, we keep assassinating them."
I'd argue that ISIS' aim is not profit. It obviously helps, but as a fundamentalist religious organisation its main objectives are religious in nature. I understand the urge to rationalise their fanatical ways—as atheists/agnostics it's very difficult to grasp such justifications—but I think we need to realise that we're dealing with a phenomenon that disappeared in Europe a long time ago, so we're not really used to it anymore. We can't use modern economic theories (from Marx to the Austrian school) to explain blind faith. Profit is the method, yes, it's the necessary tool which oils the jihad machine, but their end game is much, much more perverse. Our rational western minds are not prepared for such a nightmare. That's why I think we should change our strategy. We need to look deeper at the religious aspect, in their dogmas and rituals, trying to find Islam's Achilles heels. The only way out is a reform.
One more interesting argument. ISIS is known for killing all residents of Syrian or Iraq villages. 300, 400 people at the time, just because they're classified as infidels/haram/impure. Mass executions are common. This behaviour can't be explained by economics. It's counterintuitive, from an economic point of view, to destroy entire villages and cities. If profit was ISIS' aim, they would control that population or slave them. This 'scorched earth' strategy is a desperate measure. It's only used in massive wars or, as we can see, in completely irrational religious fervour.