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Be honest, Levitt tells politicians

delhi Updated: Dec 03, 2011 01:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Union-minister-Jyotiraditya-Scindia-and-Congress-leader-Murli-Deora-at-the-HT-Leadership-Summit-2011

Best-selling author and professor of economics at the University of Chicago, Steven Levitt, said even as governments across the world spent a lot of time and energy in tackling terrorism, it was only a minor problem in the bigger scheme of things.

“More people are killed in road accidents in Delhi every year than due to a suicide bomb attack all over the country,” said Levitt while addressing the session on Unconventional Thinking for an Unpredictable World at the HT Leadership Summit on Friday.

“So it is really a minor problem in the larger scheme of things...It is only our reaction to it that is so extreme that it makes it look bigger than it actually is,” he added.

He also said that a threat to one’s homeland was the prime reason why terrorism is thriving and blamed the US policy for generating a whole generation of terrorists.

“When somebody feels his homeland is taken away is the time when 90% of the people take to terrorism,” he said.

“The US policy could not have been more backwards as it created a whole generation of terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Asked what was required to change the way politics is done around the world, Levitt said it would help if politicians were more honest.

“Within 15 minutes of President Barack Obama assuming office in the US, I knew he was not going to do whatever he had promised,” he said.
“Hence the way to change politics is to say and be honest and let people react to it. Maybe people may not react positively at all, but that will at least break the mould,” the economist said summing up his session.