How Revolutions Take Hold
How do you topple a tyrant or popularize a foreign cuisine? A study on network theory finds that the tipping point needed for a committed minority to win over the majority is just 10 percent.
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers have identified three conditions that are necessary for minority opinion to take hold in a large group of individuals, such as what happened during the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute analyzed various models of networks where a minority strived to overtake the majority's opinion and found three common conditions: "a majority that is flexible with their views, a minority that is intractable, and a critical threshold wherein about a tenth of the population advocate the minority opinion."
What's the Big Idea?
While the results of the study are not applicable to all situations, broad guidelines on social change can be extrapolated. Albert-László Barabási, the author of the network-theory tome Linked, says: "Minorities can prevail only if they strive to become less of a minority by turning a small fraction of the population into steadfast supporters of their cause." For minority groups looking to extend their influence into the larger population, it is more important to attract new individuals than to convince the entire world about your ideas.
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- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
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- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
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- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
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