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Will The Greeks Revolt Against Austerity?
CNBC.com | June 29, 2011 | 11:26 AM EDT

Tear gas rises from the square outside of the Greek parliament building.

Protesters vow to keep fighting against the austerity plan just approved by the Greek parliament.

Memories of recent Arab uprisings provide inspiration. If it can happen on the other side of the Mediterranean, why not in Athens?

Revolutoion, however, is unlikely. The Greek regime is probably too robust to fall to anti-austerity zealots.

While there are lots of theories explaining why people rise up and topple their governments, only recently have political scientists developed a persuasive theory predicting revolutions. That theory has been worked out over the years by a team lead by Jack Goldstone of the George Mason School of Public Policy. You can read their latest paper—titled " A Global Model for Forecasting Political Instability "—here.

According to Goldstone and his co-authors, the key factor in predicting political instability is the type of regime that is in charge. Robust democracies led by institutionally constrained executives selected in a competitive and open process are unlikely to fall. There just are too many non-revolutionary escape hatches for serious political unrest to take hold.

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