Revolution is spreading through the north African and Middle Eastern countries – the inflammation has started in cities and spreads to other cities. Why are these cities the nodes of contagion?
I can’t help notice that all these cities (and nations) were on Thomas Barnett’s New Map in 2004. He included them in his proposition that the world had a functioning core and a “non-integrating gap”. Since 2004 what has changed to shift life conditions in these disconnected cities? Have people been newly or differently connected? Because that seems to be the necessary condition for inciting the revolution – connection.
Using complexity theory (popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point“) to explain the phenomenon that we are witnessing, we can see the evidence that in many of those countries more than 15% of the population now has internet connections. This is certainly the case in most Middle Eastern Countries we are seeing in the news – Iran, Iraq, Yemen. When we consider Tunisia and Egypt in the African stats, then we can see that there is almost a predictive quality to this information – where connections grow beyond 10-15% we arrive in the zone of a tipping point where revolution wants to happen.
Cities provide the container. The internet provides the new means of exchange between the citizens inside the city and between citizens of different cities. It would appear that it is time for Thomas Barnett to redraw his map? The equation of City + Internet Connections = Revolution is bringing about a rapid form of integration that is spreading like a virus – maybe even an intelligent virus?