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The J-Curve: Understanding Revolution

J curve social order politics economics psychology depression revolution upheaval economic depression poverty

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Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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The J-curve – James C. Davies’ Theory of Revolutions

In 1962, Davies presented his J-curve theory. He stated that revolutions are most likely to occur when periods of prolonged improvements concerning economic and social development are supplanted by a period of sharp reversal. He used evidence from the Dorr’s rebellion, the Russian revolution, and the Egyptian revolution to support his argument. According to Davies, the sharp reversal of development creates an intolerable gap between what people want and what they get.
 
After a reversal of fortunes, people will subjectively fear that what they have earned will be lost, and thus their mood becomes revolutionary. Davies claims that political stability and instability are dependent on the mood of the society. In other words, poor people who are satisfied will not revolt, and rich people who are dissatisfied may revolt. What is important is their state of mind rather than how much goods they possess.
Revolutions do not usually occur in impoverished societies. The reason is that when people are preoccupied with their physical survival, the community-sense and consensus on joint political actions goes down and thus also the likelihood for revolutions to occur. Even though physical deprivation is to some extent present at the onset of revolutions, it is seldom the primary cause.
 
The main factor is rather the fear that ground gained over a time period will be quickly lost. Davies found evidence for this when studying three revolutions using John Stuart Mill’s method of difference. When employing this method the researcher collects cases of a particular phenomenon in an attempt to find common factors in these cases that are otherwise quite different.
 
He thus chose three different cases, where revolts had occurred, and found the common explanatory variable to be the presence of a sharp reversal of fortunes after a period of prolonged growth.


We are due for a big fat J-curve moment right now, in fact.
cycles-violence.png?interpolation=lanczo
1870, 1920, 1970, 2020...

Normally these peaks of chaos come before economic turmoil. The turmoil by 1870 was more towards the 1860s through the early 1870s, as a result of the Civil War and its aftermath. By the time the Panic of 1873 got going, this sociopolitical chaos had calmed. 1920's turmoil was a result of organized labor facing setbacks following their gains as a result of so many young men being sent off to war. That calmed down by 1929, when the Great Depression began. The now legendary upheaval of the 1960s had all but died out by 1973, which is when the post-WWII Boomtime officially ended and a severe recession began (immediately followed by the Oil Crisis). 

 

But it looks like we won't escape such this time around. As Rec and I have been screaming to the world, we're standing on the precipice of a grand little collapse. The worst crisis since 1929. Perhaps even greater than the Great Depression. Social order in the United States and across the world is currently in the beginning stages of meltdown. There's been bloody riots and protests for some time, and they're only increasing in intensity. The union is in danger of breaking apart (as unlikely as that sounds and really is). 

 

People claim that Trump's victory has caused the Left to become sore losers. And, to an extent, they're perfectly right— a lot of people had basically decided that there shouldn't even be an election and Clinton should've been coronated from the getgo. But for many others in the Left, Trump's victory has acted as more or less of a maypole for action. "Finally, these fucking liberals got their shit wrecked and are opening their eyes!" Liberal media's all but erased any mention of leftist activism against the government over the past 8 years since opposing Obama basically meant you're racist, hence why rightist activism was exaggerated. 

 

Combine this with the fact that the alt-right is holding out against hope that Trump will come through for them. They've already been burned by Trump rescinding many of his campaign promises, but they're still hoping he'll be at least decent. If he lets them down, they'll be in open revolt. 

 

All of this will come together explosively by 2020. Again yet another reason why I clash with Rec as to why we shouldn't expect a Sino-American War to be a forgone American victory— it could prove true that the American government could collapse before the war's even over. China has no problem "disappearing" people who dissent, but the same can't be said for America. Things get too extreme? Trump and Pence'll fuck out of Washington D.C.

 

3 years!


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: J curve, social order, politics, economics, psychology, depression, revolution, upheaval, economic depression, poverty

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