Future of revolutions - Books Excerpts - Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt

The Future of Revolutions (Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen)

Book Title: The New Digital Age

Written by: Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

Chapter Title: The Future of Revolutions

Future revolutions are easier to start but harder to finish

Order Information:

The New Digital Age (Amazon.com)
The New Digital Age (Barnes & Noble)

A short comment about this chapter

The fourth chapter of the book is divided into two distinct sections. The first part, about one-third of the content is talking about the future of revolutions in an optimistic sense.

You may even fill that the authors are supporting every single act of rebellion against the established structures. However, rest of the chapter emphasizes on a very important point.

Technologies are facilitators of change, but the change is ultimately a human thing. Therefore, as authors conclude in this chapter, future revolutions are easier to start but harder to finish. Or to rephrase it in other form, revolutions are easier to happen but the revolutionary outcomes will be harder to achieve.

Chapter 4: The Future of Revolutions

There can be little doubt that the near future will be full of revolutionary movements, as communication technologies enable new connections and generate more room for expression.

And it’s clear that certain tactical efforts, like mobilizing crowds or disseminating material, will get easier as mobile and Internet penetration rates rise across many countries.

Throughout history, the technologies of the time have stimulated and shaped how revolutions developed.

Many leading these charges will be young, not just because so many of the countries coming online have incredibly young population…, but also because the mix of activism and arrogance in the young people is universal.

In these new revolutionary movements, there will be more part-time and anonymous activists than today, simply because citizens have greater agency over when and how they rebel.

Most people will not identify themselves with a single cause but instead, will join multiple issue-based movements spread over many countries.

This trend will both help and frustrate campaign organizers, for it will be easier to estimate and visualize their support network but it will be less clear how interested and committed each participant is.

… It will be up to those in leadership positions to make the strategic decision as to whether their movements actually have the support of the masses, rather than being a very large echo chamber.

The rapid proliferation of revolutionary movements across newly connected societies ultimately will not be as threatening to established governments as some observers predict, because for all that communication technologies can do to transform revolutions in ways that tip the balance in favor of the people, there are elements of change that these tools cannot effect.

Related article: Kissinger and politics of the Facebook era

Note: To comply with the requirements of the fair use, the excerpts here are not necessarily the most important or the core concepts or even summary of the book. They are just a few sentences and statements I have highlighted in the book for later reference, hoping that reading them encourage you to buy the book and read it.