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[liberationtech] Peter Theil On Arab spring

Yosem Companys companys at stanford.edu
Mon Jul 23 16:30:52 PDT 2012


One could just look at the social movement <http://is.gd/yS6WQi> and
revolutions <http://is.gd/RbJb47> empirical literature:

In that literature, scholars early on it was posited that
grievances<http://is.gd/xkrP4T> (or
relative deprivation) caused movements/revolutions (e.g., Davies'
J-curve<http://is.gd/4QZZUA>).
 Comparative empirical research, however, showed that grievance levels
would change over time, and yet there was no systematic correlation with
revolutionary or movement activity.

A new theory replaced that one that posited that
resources<http://is.gd/r0GGlZ>(including tools/technologies) caused
movements/revolutions.  Once again, comparative empirical research
showed that resource levels
would change over time, and yet there was no systematic correlation with
revolutionary or movement activity.

In the revolutions literature, it was found that the strongest predictor of
revolutions was rising expectations.  In other words, when economic
conditions improved and a socioeconomic group saw its  status enhanced,
revolutions were much more likely to happen.  In fact, the same literature
shows that worsening economic conditions may trigger riot and unrest but
rarely trigger revolutions.

In the political process theory of the social movement literature, it was
found that the strongest predictor of movements was emerging
opportunities<http://is.gd/vyLabZ>in the social structure.  In other
words, when changes to the social
structure occurred such that the elites in power saw their power weaken
vis-a-vis out-of-power challengers, challengers were most likely to demand
political change.  This can happen due to a variety of factors such as
migratory patters, economic changes, and geopolitical changes, among
others.  Researchers have further found that these factors develop over
long periods of time, such that most revolutions have 10+ years in the
making.

Moreover, political process theorists <http://is.gd/vyLabZ> note that a
successful challenge requires the following factors:

   - Political opportunities that weaken the regime vis-a-vis challengers
   - Resource availability that enables the challengers to carry out a
   successful challenge, usually in the form of existing organizations, groups
   and/or networks
   - A space (usually in the form of existing organizations, groups and/or
   networks) from which the challengers can talk & develop solidarity to mount
   a massive campaign against the regime
   - An initial weak response to the challenge by the regime that enhances
   the challengers' self-efficacy and collective belief that these challengers
   will prevail.  However, a regime can also overplay its hand and react with
   such violent force that it undermines its legitimacy in the eyes of the
   population.

Thus, a revolutions/movements scholar seeking to explain the Arab Spring
would most likely try to find evidence that rising expectations and
opportunities were present.  Then s/he would try to rule out that
grievances or resources alone could have caused it.  S/he would also expect
to find that the movement had ready access to resources and collective
solidarity, and that the regime either under- or over-played its hand.

Best,

Yosem



On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 4:06 PM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com>wrote:

> My two cents:
>
> I think it's most certainly too simplistic.  Not only does it ignore the
> 5-10 year buildup of various online communities (as opposed to this idea
> that one Facebook page suddenly created activists), but of course also
> ignores the various offline factors which include food prices but also
> plenty more (labor protests dating back to 2008, the increasing awareness
> of police brutality, etc).
>
> I'd point to a source, but I honestly haven't yet seen a *single* source
> that covers everything.  Some folks have done great work analyzing the
> online climate, others the offline, but--at least of what I've read thus
> far, which isn't everything--I haven't seen anyone pull it all together.
>
> -Jillian
>
> On Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 10:02 PM, Prashant Singh <pacificleo at gmail.com>wrote:
>
>>
>> Hi Guys
>>
>> Recently  at  Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Aspen, CO,  there was a
>> debate between Eric Schmidt and Peter Thiel  about Contribution
>> of Technology in Our Society . They touched upon many topic but  at one
>> point of time during the debate  while discussing role of technology in
>> enabling Arab Spiring and other revolution  Thiel said
>>
>> "*When you talk about the Arab spring, you can say that it's evidence of
>>> Google and Twitter -- -- liberating the world through information.  But,
>>> the actual facts on the ground are that food prices rose by 30 to 50
>>> percent in the previous year and you basically had people who had become --
>>> you had desperate people who had become more hungry than scared, who
>>> revolted.*"
>>
>>
>> is he being too simplistic ? was there more to the revolution than just
>> Food Price ? Would like to know your thoughts . you can see the whole debat
>> online at
>> http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/07/17/transcript-schmidt-thiel/
>>
>> thanks
>>
>> --
>> Prashant
>>
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>
>
>
> --
> *+1-857-891-4244 |** jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork *
>
> "We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the
> seemingly impossible to become a reality" - *Vaclav Havel*
>
>
>
>
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