Political Science Professor Darel Paul is quoted on the London attacks.

Thursday’s bloody terror attacks in London could dampen global economic growth by once again shaking the confidence of consumers and businesses, economists said.

In just a few moments, the murderous rush-hour onslaught in London killed scores of people, injured hundreds of others and paralyzed one of the world’s pre-eminent financial centers.

“I think that had to be part of their thinking — to not only kill a lot of people but to damage the whole system,” said Darel Paul, professor of political economy at Williams College in Massachusetts, who recently returned from four months of teaching in London.

“Their goal is mainly political, but there are economic ramifications — and they are intended.”

Perhaps. But there is an observational problem here. Wouldn’t the Islamofascists act in exactly the same way — in terms of the style of their attacks given the limits of their resources — if their only goal was to kill and terrify as many Infidels as possible? That is, it might be that the Islamofascists want to wreck our economy also. It might also be that they are concerned about global warming and therefore favor attacks on transportation networks.

Paul needs to come up with a hypothetical example of the sort of attack that the Islamofascists would try — that would not be so economically significant but would be equally or more causalty-causing and/or headline-grabbing — but don’t take on because it’s economic effects would be less. Off hand, I can’t come up with anything. Moreover, it is easy to imagine attacks that would be more economically serious (say, bombings of oil refineries and chemical plants) but less deadly than subway attacks. If economic thinking plays a big part in calculations of the Islamofascists, then why don’t they do more of this?

I’ll stick with Occam’s Razor on this one. The Islamofascists choose planes and trains and buses because doing so maximizes the deaths of innocents like Lindsay Morehouse ’00.

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