Terrorists, political extremists, and other violent groups are certainly a problem in the world. Although the world has become a safer place, there remains many hot spots in the word, especially in Africa and the Middle East. While a good amount of this violence is government against its own people, some is committed by violent groups such as ISIS, The Lord’s Resistance Army, or Hezbollah.
So, where do markets fit in here? How can voluntary trade combat violence? By combating their recruitment ability.
Extremists have long been able to prey on poverty and vulnerability to gain recruits. History is full of such examples: 1920’s Germany, 2015 Greece, 1930’s America, 1910’s Russia, present day Middle East. When people are poor and out of work, that feeling of helplessness is easily exploited. The extremists can come up with all kinds of scapegoats to blame for the problems (the Jews, the Rich, the West, for example). Preying on the despair, the extremists can offer easy solutions (Come fight with us! We’ll take care of you and we’ll get back at the bad guys!).
Markets can help combat this by enriching the people. Markets have an amazing ability to make people wealthier, even the poorest members. By enriching the population through free and open markets, it would reduce poverty levels and make recruitment by extremists that much harder (as an aside, this is part of the reason why trade embargoes do not work well to end conflicts).
Would this solve the problem of extremism completely? Of course not. There are many factors that go into this problem, but I humbly offer my method to combat the problem, not through force, but through peace. If the Middle East were richer, ISIS would likely still be around somewhat, but their ability to recruit would be severely hamstrung.