Review: Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Civil Society, Complexity & Catastrophe, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Insurgency & Revolution, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Lars-Erik Cederman, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, Halvard Buhaug

5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY – a modern version of the causes of revolution literature from the 1970's, January 12, 2014

I am absolutely delighted to see this book published, and to also see it win awards. In the 1970's there was a strong political science literature on the causes of revolution (see a few examples below) as well as on governance alternatives intended to achieve dignity and equality such that revolutions do not occur. A few examples:

Harry Eckstein, Internal War: Problems and Approaches
Ted Gurr, Why Men Rebel: Fortieth Anniversary Edition
Chalmers Johnson, Revolution and the Social System

The book earns five stars but could reasonably be reduced to four stars for failing to have a holistic analytic model and any substantive reference to true cost economics.

I recommend as a complementary source of perspective a collection of papers and graphics easily found online by searching for < Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today >.

There is no question but that this book is a major contribution in part because it is current and written in terms that will be understandable to the current generation of rising leaders. The only other books I have noticed recently has been James DeFronzo's Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements.

Concentration of wealth is THE primary cause of revolution. This has been long established. It has also been long established that revolution do not occure when people are oppressed to the nth degree, but rather when they see light at the end of the tunnel and then have their hopes crushed. Finally, it has been long established that the preconditions of revolution are insufficient in and of themselves to cause a revolution — revolutions need precipitants (think Tunesian fruit seller).

Others have written ably on both the failure of the Western-imposed artificial state that disrupted tribal boundaries and relations (cf. The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State, and on the urgency of state's achieving and maintaining LEGITIMACY as the foundation for staying stable, prosperous, and in power (cf. Max Manwaring, contributing editor, The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century.

In that vein it can fairly be said that the USA with its unilateral militarism, virtual colonialism, and predatory capitalism has been the primary source of global inequality and instability these past 50 years. This is not a case the authors are eager to embrace — political correctness still rules in academia and poking the empire is still frowned upon. A few books in that vein:

Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II–Updated Through 2003
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

I am out of links but it is worth noting that in relation to the Wall Street and City of London crimes against humanity, in the USA no bankers have been arrested but over 7,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters — all non-violent (the violence was from provocateurs) *have* been arrested. In this momement, the IMF, the WTO, the World Bank, and all of the UN and Western aid programs can be seen as extensions of — enablers of — the legalized globalized crime rooted in the City of London and Wall Street.

Poverty is the number one high level threat to humanity according to the UN High Level Panel on Threat, Challenges, and Change, reporting out in December 2004 in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which is also available free online by searching for the title. Nothing any state is doing today is helping address this challenge. In the USA poverty has DOUBLED in the past twelve years. All this by way of suggesting that the industrial era paradim of governance, top-down, based on secrets, of, by and for the 1%, is toxic.

On a positive note, geospatial and Internet and human-centric technologies — most open source in nature hence affordable, inter-operable, and scalable — are emerging so fast the Western and Eastern mandarins and the 42 remaining dictators are confused and ineffective. From Howard Zinn to Vaclav Havel to Jonathan Schell, the literatue and the reality are clear: the public is a power that cannot be suppressed BUT the public must choose to pay attention, think and act as one. That's the hard part.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas

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