Blood That Cries out from the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism

Blood That Cries out from the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism

Blood That Cries out from the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism

Blood That Cries out from the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism


Mandatory pensions are a worldwide phenomenon. However, with fixed contribution rates, monthly benefits, and retirement ages, pension systems are not consistent with three long-run trends: declining mortality, declining fertility, and earlier retirement. Many systems need reform. This book gives an extensive nontechnical explanation of the economics of pension design. The theoretical arguments have three elements:

• Pension systems have multiple objectives--consumption smoothing, insurance, poverty relief, and redistribution. Good policy needs to bear them all in mind.

• Good analysis should be framed in a second-best context-- simple economic models are a bad guide to policy design in a world with imperfect information and decision-making, incomplete markets and taxation.

• Any choice of pension system has risk-sharing and distributional consequences, which the book recognizes explicitly.

Barr and Diamond's analysis includes labor markets, capital markets, risk sharing, and gender and family, with comparison of PAYG and funded systems, recognizing that the suitable level of funding differs by country.

Alongside the economic principles of good design, policy must also take account of a country's capacity to implement the system. Thus the theoretical analysis is complemented by discussion of implementation, and of experiences, both good and bad, in many countries, with particular attention to Chile and China.


This is a work in progress. It may look like a finished project with its printed text bristling with references and its bibliography. But that is an illusion—in Freud’s sense. For Freud, an illusion was a wish. This book carries with it my wish to be done with this terrible topic. In the early months of the year 2001 I completed a book entitled Terror and Transformation: The Ambiguity of Religion in a Psychoanalytic Perspective. Because it had the word “terror” in the title and came out around the time of 9/11, I have been swept up into a vortex of discussions about religion and terrorism, a topic I find extremely foreign to my experience and very aversive. Also, like many in the New York metropolitan area, 9/11 still casts a longer shadow over my life (in ways that I still find hard to talk about) than the World Trade Towers ever cast when they stood erect over lower Manhattan. As much as I wanted to escape from these discussions, I have been unable to, and that has resulted in this book.

Sections of this book were previously published in The Psychoanalytic Review, 2006, volume 93, and are used here with the permission of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis and the editor, Dr. Michael Eigen.

There are many, many people to whom I owe the deepest debt of gratitude for their contributions to my thinking and writing about this topic. This book simply would not have been possible without their aid. On that bright, clear, and bitter fall morning, now known as 9/11, Kathleen Bishop and I were taking our usual morning walk when a stranger shouted to us from his car that the World Trade Center was under attack. “He must be crazy,” we said to each other. But we went back to her house and turned on the TV in time to see the first tower fall. And then the second. There . . .

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