Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why aren't sub-saharan countries revolting?

" For decades, under colonial rule and since independence, many leaders have exploited their peoples' ethnic rivalries and linguistic differences to sow division and maintain their ethnic group's hold on power and the country's purse strings. To this day, in many such states, ethnicity has greater resonance than national identity."

This is a useful article that tries to explain why some African countries probably won't have an uprising like Tunisia and Egypt, even though they have dictators running them.  The author, Wangari Maathai, does mention an internet-organized protest in Angola, but generally, much fewer people have access to the Internet in these countries than in the northern countries like Egypt (though even there it is still a small percentage with Internet access). 

I should say that I don't think there's a direct correlation of Internet access and revolution.  I see the Internet as a tool that makes organizing much cheaper, faster, and easier.  Anything cheaper, faster, and easier is more likely to happen.  But of course there are other factors that this author covers that could negate the Internet advantage at any rate.  And it's impossible to know when all the necessary factors will align so that an ICA will not only happen, but succeed. 

There have been revolutions before the Internet, and there will no doubt be some that hardly utilize the Internet.  But the Internet makes collective action more likely.

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