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citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, Google Earth, informal economy, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, moral panic, Occupy movement, RAND corporation, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, WikiLeaks
It is impossible to know the precise balance of spontaneity and planning, but some degree of deliberate and calculated intervention factored into the success of the Bouazizi-triggered uprising. In an article titled “How Tunisia’s Revolution Began,” Yasmine Ryan recounts a tale that involves two male relatives, a mother, a peaceful protest, Facebook, and Al Jazeera: In Sidi Bouzid … locals fought to get news of what was happening out, and succeeded. Rochdi Horchani—a relative of Mohamed Bouazizi … helped break through the media blackout. On December 17, he and Ali Bouazizi, a cousin of Mohamed Bouazizi, posted a video of a peaceful protest led by the young man’s mother outside the municipality building. That evening, the video was aired on Al Jazeera’s Mubasher channel. Al Jazeera’s new media team, which trawls the web looking for video from across the Arab world, had picked up the footage via Facebook.2 What the author left out of her account was that the satellite station, Al Jazeera Mubasher, does not operate as a neutral and objective television platform.
Judging from their online posts, the young Salafists in the community tried to turn Sayed Bilal into a symbol for all the mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Mubarak police state. They tried to construct Sayed Bilal as the new martyr who could rouse people to revolt. In the midst of these tumultuous events in Egypt, a mass uprising was brewing in Tunisia, sparked by its own celebrity martyr, Mohamed Bouazizi. On January 13, 2011, twenty-eight days into the Tunisian revolt, an image of two hands symbolizing Tunisia whispering into the ear of Egypt appeared on the wall of the Khaled Said page. It included these words: “From the people of Tunisia to the people of Egypt. We hope the message arrives from Tunisia to bring freedom. In Tunisia the oppression is worse than in Egypt. Even though a large number of websites were blocked, tens of thousands of people still went down to the streets.”
In the lead-up to January 25, the Khaled Said community of predominantly high school and college students found themselves grappling with a host of complex issues pertaining to martyrdom, suicide, and poverty. At this moment of genuine deliberation, they struggled to find their collective voice and ethical positions. In both Tunisia and Egypt, the tragic story of a young manturned-martyr became the trigger for revolt. In Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi doused his body in kerosene outside a municipal building and set himself ablaze. In Egypt, plainclothes police officers beat Khaled Said in view of neighbors. These two men became symbols of mass movements, the detonators which touched the fiber of people and the hooks that motivated them to join, as the anti-FARC campaigner Oscar Morales wrote about in the AYM manual for cyberdissidents. Activists have long understood the power of symbols in galvanizing people to join a movement; think of what Rosa Parks meant to the civil rights movement, or Nelson Mandela to the anti-apartheid struggle.
back-to-the-land, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, capital controls, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, informal economy, land tenure, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Occupy movement, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rising living standards, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, union organizing, We are the 99%, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, young professional
In my book Meltdown, in June 2010,1 grappled with the reasons for this deep psychological complacency: It appears—because it has been the case for twenty years—that every problem is solvable … that no matter how badly the world economy slumps there is a pain-free way out of it. Once the realization dawns that there is not, and that the pain will be severe, the question is posed that has not really been posed for twenty years: who should feel it?14 Now, that question had become concrete. On 17 December 2010, a street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi walked into the traffic in the Tunisian backwater of Sidi Bouzid, carrying a can of gasoline, and set himself on fire: he had, he claimed, been slapped by a corrupt local official, and his street goods had been confiscated. Within eight months, what began with Bouazizi had ripped away the fabric of autocratic rule across the Middle East. And with hindsight we can now see that the fabric had already begun to fray elsewhere.
But in the mega-cities of youth culture—London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York—the cultural proximity is more organic. And in no-hope towns where the college is the only modern thing in the landscape, everyone rubs shoulders in the laundromat, the fast-food joint, the cramped carriages of late-night trains. In North Africa, though many of the college students who led the revolutions were drawn from the elite, you find this same blurring of the edges between the educated youth and the poor. The story of Mohamed Bouazizi, the street trader whose self-immolation on the morning of 17 January 2011 sparked the revolution in Tunisia, illustrates this well. He can’t get a job because, in a corrupt dictatorship, he lacks the right connections. He’s a street vendor earning $140 a month, but he’s using the money to put his sister through college.6 The 2008 uprising in Mahalla, Egypt, saw this same overlap of worker, student and urban poor.
The woman tweeting at work or from the front line of a demonstration is experiencing the same shared consciousness, role-play, multifaceted personality and intense bonding that you get in World of Warcraft—only now it’s from within real life. Though the old multiuser games still hold their attraction for millions of geeky people, the newest, most satisfying and most immersive user experience is reality. As I write this, for example, at 23:00 BST on 20 August 2011, my own Twitter feed is exploding with accounts, from people on the ground, of the final offensive of the insurgents against Gaddafi in Tripoli: ‘Never forget Mohamed Bouazizi’ ‘Do you guys realize #Libya is right on the verge of being the FIRST, REAL DEMOCRACY in the MiddleEast!!!’ ‘Its about time #Eygpt recognizes the NTC as a representative of the Libyan people ! #Libya …’ ‘Late night celebrations in #zawiya at the news of uprisings in #tripoli. huge booms from poss. NATO strikes audible from the east …’ ‘#AlJazeera and #PressTV report #Gaddafi en route to Italy by air.
Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age by Manuel Castells
access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, call centre, centre right, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, housing crisis, income inequality, microcredit, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Port of Oakland, social software, statistical model, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game
And, while there were already a number of precedents of such new social movements in the last decade (particularly in Spain in 2004 and in Iran in 2009), we may say that in its full-fledged manifestation it all started in Tunisia and in Iceland. TUNISIA: “THE REVOLUTION OF LIBERTY AND DIGNITY”1 It began in a most unlikely site: Sidi Bouzid, a small town of 40,000 residents in an impoverished central region of Tunisia, south of Tunis. The name of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old street vendor, has now been engraved in history as the one who changed the destiny of the Arab world. His self-immolation by fire at half past eleven on the morning of December 17, 2010 in front of a government building was his ultimate cry of protest against the humiliation of repeated confiscation of his fruit and vegetable stand by the local police after he refused to pay a bribe.
After all, social struggles and gestures of opposition have been swiftly repressed by the regime with relative ease on prior occasions. Intense working-class struggles had taken place in Ben Guerdane (2009) and in the phosphate mines of Gafsa (2010), but they were violently repressed with scores of people killed, injured and arrested, and ultimately contained. Dissidents were tortured and jailed. Street demonstrations were rare. We know that the spark of the revolt came from the sacrifice of Mohamed Bouazizi. But how did the spark set fire to the prairie and how and why did it spread? New, distinctive factors made possible the success of the Tunisian popular revolts in 2011 over a sustained period of time. Among these factors appears prominently the role played by the Internet and Al Jazeera in triggering, amplifying and coordinating spontaneous revolts as an expression of outrage, particularly among the youth.
Tunisia will confront major challenges in the coming years. But it will do so with a reasonably democratic polity in place and, more importantly, with a conscious and active civil society, still occupying cyberspace and ready to come back into the urban space if and when necessary. Whatever the future will be, the hope for a humane and democratic Tunisian society will be the direct result of the sacrifice of Mohamed Bouazizi and of the struggle for the dignity he defended for himself, which had been taken up by his compatriots. ICELAND’S KITCHENWARE REVOLUTION: FROM FINANCIAL COLLAPSE TO CROWDSOURCING A NEW (FAILED) CONSTITUTION2 The opening scenes of what is perhaps the best documentary film on the global financial crisis of 2008, Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, showcase Iceland. Indeed, the rise and fall of the Icelandic economy epitomizes the flawed model of speculative wealth creation that characterized financial capitalism in the last decade.
Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Story of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman
1960s counterculture, 4chan, Amazon Web Services, Bay Area Rapid Transit, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Debian, East Village, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, George Santayana, hive mind, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, Occupy movement, pirate software, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks, zero day
The excesses of the Ben Ali family are growing.6 On December 17, 2010, three weeks after Nawaat.org released the translated cables, an unrelated act of desperation ripped open the soul of the nation. Mohammed Bouazizi—a young fruit and vegetable seller—was accosted by the police, who seized his unlicensed food cart and refused to return it even after Bouazizi offered to pay the fine. His first attempt at retrieving his cart was a frustrating failure. Low-level government officials refused to even talk to him. Doubly insulted, with a family of eight to feed, he set himself on fire. Powerless and voiceless in one moment he became, in the next, impossible to ignore: but at the terrible cost of his life. Protests began in Sidi Bouzid, the city where Mohammed Bouazizi resided. Quickly they radiated out in every direction. Lives were lost at the hand of the police, causing more people to join in the protests.
Any organization involved in censorship will be targeted and will not be released until the Tunisian government hears the claim for freedom to its people. It’s on the hands of the Tunisian government to stop this situation. Free the net, and attacks will cease, keep on that attitude and this will just be the beginning. The Tiger Consumes Four Chickens a Day But let’s back up to the onset of revolution itself. Mohammed Bouazizi, WikiLeaks and Nawaat, and Chelsea Manning all deserve thanks for its inception. In 2010, living under the Ben Ali regime since 1989, scores of Tunisians were downtrodden, living in deplorable conditions, and fearful as human rights abuses—torture, censorship, and detentions—intensified in the country. The country had not been party to any large-scale protests for decades, and its many Western allies, including the United States, singled Tunisia out as a model of political and economic stability in an Arab region otherwise known for strife and instability.
Takriz, an Internet-savvy group chartered as a mailing list in 1989, worked to connect the rough and tumble street youth to the Internet.7 Though Takriz has no direct connection with Anonymous, their spirit is kindred. A network of a few thousand, Takriz generally refuses to cooperate with journalists, bandies about obscenity as a shock tactic, and proudly embraces anonymity. Its current Twitter account reads: “Tunisian cyber think/fight tank & street resistance network since 1998. Free, True & Anonymous—Takrizo Ergo Sum—We make revolutions!”8 Mohammed Bouazizi passed away from his burns on January 4, 2011, and the next day an estimated five thousand mourners attended his funeral, many of them chanting, “Farewell, Mohammed, we will avenge you. We weep for you today, we will make those who caused your death weep.”9 The next day, 75 percent of the nation’s lawyers went on strike, calling for an end to the crackdown.10 Tunisians from all walks of life—teachers, union members, students—joined the fray.
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
Outside the town office he douses himself, lights a match, and burns. Only the conclusion of this story is unusual. There are countless poor street vendors in Tunisia and across the Arab world. Police corruption is rife, and humiliations like those inflicted on this man are a daily occurrence. They matter to no one aside from the police and their victims. But this particular humiliation, on December 17, 2010, caused Mohamed Bouazizi, aged twenty-six, to set himself on fire, and Bouazizi’s self-immolation sparked protests. The police responded with typical brutality. The protests spread. Hoping to assuage the public, the dictator of Tunisia, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, visited Bouazizi in the hospital. Bouazizi died on January 4, 2011. The unrest grew. On January 14, Ben Ali fled to a cushy exile in Saudi Arabia, ending his twenty-three-year kleptocracy.
After three decades in power, the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was driven from office. Elsewhere, protests swelled into rebellions, rebellions into civil wars. This was the Arab Spring—and it started with one poor man, no different from countless others, being harassed by police, as so many have been, before and since, with no apparent ripple effects. It is one thing to look backward and sketch a narrative arc, as I did here, connecting Mohamed Bouazizi to all the events that flowed out of his lonely protest. Tom Friedman, like many elite pundits, is skilled at that sort of reconstruction, particularly in the Middle East, which he knows so well, having made his name in journalism as a New York Times correspondent in Lebanon. But could even Tom Friedman, if he had been present that fatal morning, have peered into the future and foreseen the self-immolation, the unrest, the toppling of the Tunisian dictator, and all that followed?
Of course Lorenz didn’t mean that the butterfly “causes” the tornado in the same sense that I cause a wineglass to break when I hit it with a hammer. He meant that if that particular butterfly hadn’t flapped its wings at that moment, the unfathomably complex network of atmospheric actions and reactions would have behaved differently, and the tornado might never have formed—just as the Arab Spring might never have happened, at least not when and as it did, if the police had just let Mohamed Bouazizi sell his fruits and vegetables that morning in 2010. Edward Lorenz shifted scientific opinion toward the view that there are hard limits on predictability, a deeply philosophical question.4 For centuries, scientists had supposed that growing knowledge must lead to greater predictability because reality was like a clock—an awesomely big and complicated clock but still a clock—and the more scientists learned about its innards, how the gears grind together, how the weights and springs function, the better they could capture its operations with deterministic equations and predict what it would do.
Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner
algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, Pingit, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K
Capitalism is oppressing the people of Europe and America in the post-capitalistic meltdown and the mobile internet is allowing the oppressed to break this oppression. That is why Time Magazine named their 2011 Person of the Year as The Protestor, rather than an individual. An unusual move but, during 2011, there were so many examples of individual action that Protestors could not be ignored, and these were the combined forces of many individuals ignited by one, such as Mohamed Bouazizi. Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi was a 26 year old market trader in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, who was regularly harassed by municipal police officers for illegal market trading. Although his trading was not actually illegal, it was the fact that Bouazizi had no money to bribe the officers that they haraseed him, continually moving him along and confiscating his goods. Eventually, after years of such humiliation, Bouazizi went to the main market square in Sidi Bouzid to see the Governor of the town.
The attack targets the bandwidth of the website, sending TCP, UDP, or HTTP requests to the site until it goes down. This hit MasterCard’s 3D Secure and broadband payments services, and went viral using the term Operation Payback: “an anonymous, decentralized movement which fights against censorship and copywrong.” As can be seen, the power of today’s internet must not be underestimated, as who would have thought that Gadaffi, Mubarak and others would have been deposed due to the fire of Mohammed Bouazizi, a Tunisian market stall holder and his note left on Facebook? This is why Josef Ackermann, former CEO of Deutsche Bank stated in 2012 that: “we have a social responsibility, because if this inequality increases in income distribution or wealth distribution we may have a social time bomb ticking and no-one wants to have that.” Meanwhile, the Occupy, Anonymous and the 99% movements could be powerful if they had a leader, as we are living through a moment of revolution in all aspects of society and government.
Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, digital map, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day
As a region, North Africa and the Middle East were noticeably devoid of popular democracy movements, at least until the early months of 2011. The internet was part of the story of Tunisia’s recent popular uprising. Yet it wasn’t simply a new communications tool for the propaganda of democracy advocates. Many Tunisians had been disaffected for a long time, but organized opposition grew online. Digital images of the burned body of Mohamed Bouazizi circulated by mobile phone within the country and eventually across North Africa. The activists behind the Arab Spring used digital media for propaganda and organization. Their revolutionary spirit spilled across borders. Using a combination of social media and agile street tactics, they toppled multiple dictators in a surge of unrest that has been called the “fourth wave” of popular uprising for democracy.26 Both events are difficult to understand without considering the importance of digital media.
Too many die at the hands of brutal government-security officials. Increasingly, however, people document the suffering of their loved ones. In Iran, in 2009, Neda Agha-Soltan was shot dead at a street protest, and the video of her blood pooling in the streets of Tehran inspired immense public outrage.58 This video inflamed the largest protests since the Iranian revolution of 1979. In Tunisia, in December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation depressed Tunisians, then enraged them to open insurrection. In Syria, in April 2011, Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb, a thirteen-year-old boy, was brutally tortured and then killed, helping to fuel a civil war.59 In Bahrain, in August 2011, Ali Jawad al-Sheikh was killed when a police tear-gas canister struck him in the head. These victims focused popular anger. Or, more accurately, their stories were carried by digital media over wide networks of family and friends.
Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century by Christian Caryl
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, financial deregulation, financial independence, friendly fire, full employment, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet Archive, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mont Pelerin Society, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Pearl River Delta, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, special economic zone, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, Yom Kippur War
Khomeini, “Speech at Feyziyeh Theological School,” August 24, 1979; in Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, 34. Oxford University Press, USA, 2004. 7. “What Is Man Afraid Of?,” Redemptor Hominis, John Paul II, http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0218/PG.HTM#$2Q. 8. Kanan Makiya, interview with the author, Cambridge, MA, September 29, 2009. 9. “Mohammed Bouazizi: The Dutiful Son Whose Death Changed Tunisia’s Fate,” Peter Beaumont, Guardian, January 20, 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/20/tunisian-fruit-seller-mohammed-bouazizi. 10. “A Shi’ite Victory That Subverted Shi’ite Tradition,” Jeffrey Donovan, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, February 10, 2009. 11. For a more detailed exploration of modern Shenzhen, see Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China, James Fallows. 12. “China Internal Security Spending Jumps Past Army Budget,” Chris Buckley, Reuters, March 5, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/05/china-unrest-idUSTOE72400920110305. 13.
All the categories through which we had viewed the world had fallen apart.”8 The Tudeh, once the most powerful Communist Party in its region, effectively ceased to exist after the Iranian Revolution—a decade before the collapse of the Soviet Union put an end to real-existing socialism elsewhere. The dream of the brotherhood of man was a powerful one, but it could not compete, in the final analysis, with the brotherhood of believers. The man who started the Arab Spring was not an Islamist. On December 17, 2010, a twenty-six-year-old street vendor in Tunisia, a high school graduate with an income of some $140 a month, changed the course of history. That day Mohammed Bouazizi went to a local government office in his hometown of Sidi Bouzid to register a protest against the police who had confiscated his vegetable cart. The official in charge refused to see him or acknowledge his complaints. Bouazizi doused himself with gasoline and set himself alight.9 Bouazizi’s death touched off a revolution in his home country that quickly found emulators across the Arab world.
Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action That Changed America by Writers For The 99%
Bay Area Rapid Transit, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, desegregation, feminist movement, income inequality, McMansion, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, Port of Oakland, We are the 99%, young professional
Although the protests in disparate nations have taken place under different forms of government and have varied in the specificity of their demands, all have expressed a similar outrage with the inequities of unfettered global capitalism. In the first months of 2011, North Africa and the Middle East saw a myriad of popular protests. Unrest in Tunisia broke out on December 17, 2010, after a 26-year-old street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, lit himself ablaze because the police kept confiscating his wares to extort money, and he couldn’t support his family of eight. Photos and videos of Bouazizi went viral on Facebook, igniting the rage of a generation of Tunisian youth and sparking colossal street demonstrations that led to the January 14 ouster of Tunisian president Ben Ali. Next, protests erupted in Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Mauritania, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, drone strike, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Powell Memorandum, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
It’s a basis for going further. There’s plenty that we can do, but it’s not going to happen by itself. If people are made to feel helpless, isolated, atomized, then power will win. These issues are pretty severe. Right now, for example, we are really facing the prospect of something like species destruction for the first time in human history. 3 Uprisings CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS (JANUARY 17, 2012) Mohamed Bouazizi, a young street vendor in a small town in Tunisia, in despair burned himself to death.1 That led to what seemed to be a spontaneous uprising in Tunisia and then later in Egypt and other parts of the Arab Middle East. First of all, let’s remember that there had been plenty going on beneath the surface. It just hadn’t broken through. Take Egypt, the most important country in the region. The January 25 demonstration in Egypt was led by a fairly young, tech-savvy group called the April 6 Movement.
Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, British Empire, corporate governance, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Jane Jacobs, Kibera, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, Rosa Parks, urban planning, urban sprawl
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians “liked”—what an awful use of the phrase—Ghonim’s page, and the outrage stirred up by Khaled’s death was one of the sparks that Mohammed Adel and the April 6 organization used to launch the Egyptian Revolution. Because the police decided to murder him for no reason, Khaled Said went from being an anonymous kid in Alexandria to a national icon and a trigger for regional upheaval. Much like the suicide of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit vendor who was humiliated by the police and set himself on re to protest the misery and oppression that he endured every day at the hands of the government, the murder of Khaled Said proved once again that occasionally bills do get sent to dictators for their crimes. And trust me, there’s always a way to make the bad guys pay. When the Islamic Republic of Iran banned all mention of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman murdered by the regime’s security services during a 2009 rally for democracy in Tehran, plenty of activists were searching for ways to keep the name of their martyred comrade alive.
3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, period drama, Peter Thiel, pirate software, publication bias, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar
With Tunisians facing rising inflation and high unemployment, the conspicuous displays of wealth and persistent rumors of corruption have added fuel to the fire.36 Average Tunisians knew all about the corruption of their leaders. But to have the United States—the world’s most powerful country—documenting it with a combination of bemusement, horror, and disgust was a humiliating wake-up call. General dissatisfaction and unrest in Tunisia grew, not to mention political dissension and activism. Mohammed Bouazizi, an unknown twenty-six-year-old in a rural Tunisian town, gave voice to the growing national frustration. After he was harassed into paying another round of bribes to the local authorities, he doused himself with gasoline, and lit a match while shouting, “How do you expect me to make a living?” The nation erupted in protest and rioting.37 A torrent of political activity followed, much of it facilitated by the Internet and mobile phones.
And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East by Richard Engel
Staying in hotels also got old in a hurry, so in 2009 I bought a walk-up apartment in the West Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The place badly needed renovating, which took almost a year. I went on a lot of long reporting trips so I could get away from the city. But New York was a blessing in one respect: I began a relationship with Mary Forrest, now my wife and mother of our child. I didn’t take much notice when a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the confiscation of his produce by municipal officials. Tunisia, after all, is a small country (population 10.5 million), bounded on two sides by the Mediterranean and overshadowed by Libya, its large neighbor to the east, formerly led by the crackpot regime of Mu’ammar Gadhafi. There weren’t a lot of reasons to go to Tunisia except to do a cultural documentary.
affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game, éminence grise
The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, blamed a “foreign conspiracy” for his dilemma, as he began bombing liberated territories. Later, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—an elected leader, but an increasingly erratic, authoritarian one—would blame drunks, Twitter users, and terrorists. But these men were hardly the only ones inconvenienced by the turmoil. It had begun with a popular movement in Tunisia, precipitated by the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi on December 18, 2010. Bouazizi was protesting at the confiscation of his wares and the routine harassment he suffered at the hands of the authorities. His complaints resonated with the experiences and dissatisfactions of a wide layer of the population, who began to mount regular, sustained protests. These grew in scale, leading ultimately to the overthrow of the country’s dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, on January 14, 2011.
For Tunisians reading them, the surprise was not the revelation of corruption, but the bluntness of the US assessment of the regime. Upon spotting the leaks, the regime went into panic mode. In December 2010 it tried to block access to websites carrying the cables, focusing specifically on the popular, progressive Beirut newspaper Al-Akhbar.21 Within a matter of days of this intervention, the street trader Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in protest at the brutal and unjust treatment he had received at the hands of police. Bouazizi’s complaints were not just about intolerable state abuse, however, but also invoked the declining standard of living that he, like many Tunisians, had suffered since the global financial crash, symbolized by soaring food prices and high unemployment. Finally, the corruption of the regime epitomized its increasingly narrow social base.
The End of Secrecy: The Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks by The "Guardian", David Leigh, Luke Harding
4chan, banking crisis, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Climategate, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, Downton Abbey, drone strike, eurozone crisis, friendly fire, global village, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Mohammed Bouazizi, offshore financial centre, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Levy, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
One of the most interesting – and subtle – immediate positive outcomes of the WikiLeaks saga was in one of those normally obscure countries. Following the publication of excoriating leaked cables from the US mission in Tunisia, about the corruption and excess of the ruling family, tens of thousands of protesters rose up and overthrew the country’s hated president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Was this a WikiLeaks revolution? Not quite. It began after an unemployed 26-year-old university graduate, Mohammed Bouazizi, set fire to himself in desperation. Officials had prevented him from selling vegetables. His death triggered nationwide rioting over joblessness and political repression. It was long-simmering frustrations with the Ben Ali regime which were behind the revolt. The Tunisians were the first people in the Arab world to take to the streets and oust a leader for a generation. But they already knew their ruling family was debauched; they didn’t need WikiLeaks for that.
Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock
Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, butterfly effect, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, global rebalancing, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban decay, working-age population, Yom Kippur War
Russia, Brazil, China, Africa, and the North Sea were all on the agenda, but it was the recent cataclysmic events in North Africa and the Middle East—and the likely response from the oil cartel known as OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)—that figured high in their calculations of where oil demand and oil prices were headed. Tunisia Heralds Arab Spring It had started in Tunisia six months earlier, in December 2010. On a Friday morning in the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, 250 km south of the capital Tunis, a 26-year-old fruit and vegetable seller named Mohammed Bouazizi found himself in dispute with municipal authorities over his lack of a street vendor’s licence. His goods were seized, his family insulted. Bouazizi, humiliated by the officials and stripped of his sole source of income, made his way to the governor’s office to complain. When he was turned away without a hearing, he set himself alight in protest. His action, which led to his death in the hospital 18 days later on January 4, was the spark for a firestorm of public protest against food inflation, unemployment, and government repression.
Writing on the Wall: Social Media - the First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage
Bill Duvall, British Empire, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, New Journalism, packet switching, place-making, Republic of Letters, sexual politics, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, yellow journalism
Every week, it seems, a new variation on social networking, sharing, and publishing appears. Given how widely used social sites have become, it is hardly surprising that, like earlier forms of social media, they have started to have social and political impact, particularly in countries where publishing has traditionally been tightly restricted. SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE ARAB SPRING AND BEYOND On December 17, 2010, a twenty-six-year-old Tunisian fruit seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, had his produce and weighing scales confiscated by police in his home town of Sidi Bouzid. Exasperated by repeated harassment and insults from officials, he went to the regional governor’s office to complain. When the governor refused to see him, Bouazizi doused himself with fuel, cried out, “How do you expect me to make a living?” and set himself on fire. His protest prompted immediate demonstrations by other street vendors in Sidi Bouzid, and a large crowd gathered outside the governor’s office.
Revolution 2:0: A Memoir and Call to Action by Wael Ghonim
I was getting excited about all the possibilities. We agreed to brainstorm further after the new year. Yet on December 30, I posted: * * * January 25th is Police Day and it’s a national holiday . . . I think the police have done enough this year to deserve a special celebration . . . What do you think? 471 Likes 119 Comments * * * 5. A Preannounced Revolution ON DECEMBER 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, an unlicensed vegetable-cart operator in Sidi Bouzid, a town 190 miles south of Tunis, had his cart confiscated by a policewoman, and when he complained to her, she allegedly slapped his face, humiliating him in front of everyone. He went to police headquarters to lodge a complaint, but the officers refused to see him. At 11:30 that morning he returned to headquarters and, as a protest, set himself on fire.
Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Otto Scharmer, Katrin Kaufer
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Fractional reserve banking, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph Schumpeter, market bubble, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, peak oil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Washington Consensus, working poor, Zipcar
Nearly two decades later, in the fall of 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, a global financial services firm, sent shock waves around the globe and within hours brought the financial systems of the United States and Europe to the brink of collapse. Today the remaining Wall Street megabanks and their European counterparts have survived because of massive taxpayer-financed bailouts from their governments. On October 11 of that year, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the world financial system was teetering on the “brink of systemic meltdown.”1 In December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a young fruit and vegetable seller in Tunisia, set himself on fire in protest of his treatment by police, who wanted to extract bribes from him and, when he refused, took away his merchandise and beat him. In January 2011, a twenty-six-year-old Egyptian activist, Asmaa Mahfouz, posted a video online urging people to protest the “corrupt government” of Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, by rallying in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.2 With that video she sparked and inspired an uprising among the Egyptian population.
conceptual framework, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, East Village, financial independence, Gini coefficient, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, land reform, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fundamentalism, Mohammed Bouazizi, Plutocrats, plutocrats, rolodex, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, transcontinental railway, Washington Consensus, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, young professional
It was a Chinese favorite, perfect for tea, with small white petals that classical poets associated with innocence. But this year, the police told the vendors, no matter what price you are offered, no jasmine. And if anyone comes around asking to buy it, jot down the license plate number and call it in. In Chinese politics, the flower had acquired the aroma of subversion. A few weeks earlier, on December 17, a twenty-six-year-old unemployed graduate in Tunisia named Mohammed Bouazizi was selling fruit without a permit when a police officer confiscated his produce and slapped him for complaining. Bouazizi was the sole earner in an extended family of eleven. He visited the provincial headquarters for help, but nobody would see him. Desperate and humiliated, he doused himself in paint thinner and lit a match. By the time he died, weeks later, his story had sparked demonstrations against the authoritarian rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce
Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, British Empire, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate raider, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, index fund, Jeff Bezos, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, smart cities, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks
Whatever one feels about such projects, the Gulf governments were certainly right to be alarmed about the possible impact of rising food prices on their people. Perhaps more than they knew. By early 2011, the Middle East and North Africa were erupting with the Arab Spring. While the Western media concentrated on the politics of reform, many on the streets were protesting as much about bread prices as corruption. They were waving baguettes as they marched into Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Tunis’s November 7 Square (now renamed Mohamed Bouazizi Square, after the vegetable seller whose suicide sparked the revolution). In Yemen they turned on their leaders with chapatis strapped to their temples. The only Gulf state directly impacted by the uprising was Bahrain. But this was uncomfortably close for many of the region’s autocrats. Bahrain is connected by a causeway to Saudi Arabia. Governments reacted to shore up their popularity.
Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, domain-specific language, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Bouazizi, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP
A minute later, he’s out the door and disappeared down the rain-shined sidewalks of London. Cablegate changed the world. Three weeks after my meeting with Assange, 251,000 once-secret State Department Cables began flowing out of WikiLeaks and would continue for the next year. The documents had too many connections to too many world affairs to draw straight lines between cause and effect. But when a sidewalk vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of the governor’s office in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, the country’s citizens responded by taking to the streets to overthrow their government. Many of them cited WikiLeaks’ revelations about the U.S. State Department’s disdain for Tunisian president Ben Ali as giving them the courage to oppose their dictator of the prior two-and-a-half decades. If they stood up to him, it was now clear, America wasn’t coming to his aid.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, British Empire, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, information asymmetry, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, land reform, land tenure, life extension, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, open economy, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, Port of Oakland, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, price discrimination, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game
It was not until the second half of the twentieth century that stable liberal democracy finally spread throughout Western Europe, and not until the collapse of communism in 1989–1991 that it was extended into Eastern Europe as well. The European road to democracy was long indeed. 29 FROM 1848 TO THE ARAB SPRING Origins of the Arab Spring; differences and similarities between the contemporary Middle East and nineteenth-century Europe; religion and nationalism as alternative routes to political mobilization The Arab Spring began in January 2011 with the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi, which brought down the dictatorship of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and triggered a cascade of uprisings that spread to Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria, and threatened the stability of every regime in the region. Bouazizi, according to press reports, had his produce cart confiscated on several occasions by the police; when he went to protest, he was slapped and insulted by police officials.
Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill
active measures, air freight, anti-communist, blood diamonds, business climate, citizen journalism, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, drone strike, failed state, friendly fire, Google Hangouts, indoor plumbing, Islamic Golden Age, land reform, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, private military company, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, WikiLeaks
But just six weeks after Davis was whisked from Pakistan, the secret war he had been helping to fight would be thrust to front-page news the world over when JSOC helicopters penetrated Pakistani territory in the dead of night and headed for the garrison town of Abbottabad. Their mission: to kill the most wanted man in the world. The Tsunami of Change AUSTRIA AND YEMEN, 2011 —In mid-2011, Yemen was caught up in the revolution that was sweeping the Arab world. The popular revolt against oppressive regimes in the region had begun on December 17, 2010, when Mohamed Bouazizi, a twenty-six-year-old street vendor in Tunisia, took the ultimate stand. The young fruit-and-vegetable seller struggled every day in the poor rural city of Sidi Bouzid to make ends meet, facing constant harassment from local police and municipal employees who demanded bribes from him. On this particular day, Tunisian officials stripped him of his only source of income—when they confiscated his cart and goods because he did not have the proper permit.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky
autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game
But they were the catalysts, the ones who paid with their freedom or their lives. And there are whistle-blowers who took great risks to trigger change—Daniel Ellsberg, Karen Silkwood, W. Mark Felt (Watergate’s Deep Throat), Samuel Provance (the U.S. soldier who revealed the abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison), Edward Snowden.* But there are also lesser-known people, acting alone or in small numbers, with extraordinary impact. Take Mohamed Bouazizi, a twenty-six-year-old fruit seller in Tunisia, then in its twenty-third year of corrupt and repressive rule by a dictator. At the market the police hassled Bouazizi about an imaginary permit, expecting a bribe. He refused, not out of principle—he’d often bribed—but because he lacked the money. He was kicked and spat upon, his fruit cart overturned. His complaint at the government office was ignored.