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A general theory of twentieth century political revolution

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posted on 2023-08-04, 13:24 authored by Carl John Luna

A general theory of twentieth century political revolution, derived from Marx's analysis of social structure, is tested against four historical revolutions: the Russian, Cuban, Guatemalan, and Iranian. This model hypothesizes that revolution is a function of the degree of contradiction (stability) between the levels of rewards and sanctions distributed across the society by the ideological, economic, and social subsystems. The probability of a revolution occurring in a given society varies as its stability varies. Stability is defined as the degree of correlation in the rank orderings of the level of rewards/punishments received by groups in the population measured in each of the societal subsystems. Political revolution is defined as the rapid transformation of the distribution of rewards and penalties among specific groups within a society. An artificial intelligence-based computer simulation is used to test the research hypothesis. Cognitive/Decision models postulated for political actors in four revolutions are programmed in a computer simulation of the political environment. Actor-models select goal-satisfying strategies in competition with other actors. The simulation replicates the decision-making process of participating actors, the tactical nature of their decisions, and resolves the outcomes of decisions in terms of changes in actor capabilities. Measurements are made of the satisfaction of goals underlying these decisions. The record of actor-model decisions and simulation outcomes is regressed against the actor's historical decisions to establish the statistical validity of the actor models and each revolution simulation. The measures of levels of goal satisfaction obtained from the simulations for the modeled actors are used to calculate rank orderings for actor goal satisfaction associated with each societal subsystem. The correlation of these rank orderings obtained for each round of simulation is statistically compared to an ordinally scaled measure of revolutionary intensity also measured for each round of simulation. This test addresses the research hypothesis that the probability of revolution, as measured by revolutionary intensity, varies negatively with political stability, as measured by the correlation of goal satisfaction rankings. The outcome of experimental testing supported the research hypothesis.



American University




Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 50-06, Section: A, page: 1788.; Ph.D. American University 1988.; English


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