Politicians couldn't predict the violence in Egypt, but political scientists did
At least, we didn’t. As it happens, somebody predicted exactly what was going to happen in those countries ... and in Iran, and in Jordon.
In fact, three academics developed a model of predicting political turmoil that is now 7 for 7 on predictions of global unrest.
The Predictive Societal Indicators of Radicalism Model of Domestic Political Violence Forecast was developed by two Kansas State University professors, Sam Bell Amanda Murdie in collaboration with Professor Cingranelli at SUNY Binghamton University. It lists 37 nations that the model believes will see domestic political uprisings in the next five years – and so far all seven nations to do so since the 2010 predictions were made (including Iran, Tunisia, and Egypt) are, in fact, on the list.
The tool was developed for an Open Innovation company called Milcord that builds knowledge management systems for federal governments. The researchers compiled a database based on public information on 150 countries. The data cover the amount and intensity of politically motivated domestic violence spanning two decades from 1990-2009. The violence includes a full spectrum from non-violent sit-ins that go over the edge to politically motivated bombings.
The predicts that three elements are needed for a domestic political uprising to happen: coercion, coordination and capacity.
Coercion means the degree to which the government human rights and material needs.
Coordination is the ability of people to come together under a common mission, to overthrow a government. With recent technological developments, coordination is getting even easier.
Capacity refers to the government’s ability to squash a growing movement. Geography, infrastructure, and economics can all support or hinder the government’s ability to stop a movement from spreading throughout the country.
So, if the model is right, where else is domestic political violence coming by 2015? The 35 countries predicted by the model are:
2 Sri Lanka
10 Czech Republic
20 South Africa
30 Ecuador *
It’s hard not to be impressed by the predictive power of this model – but at the same time, we need to recognize that many (though not all) of the countries on this list are among the most oppressive in the world ... places where a populace would have a clear moral case for an uprising.
That’s not hard to spot, and it’s no surprise that we are seeing people take to the streets for their rights. As Paulo Freire said in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “This, then, is the greatest humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”
-- Makenna Berry
Photo By M. Soli [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons