|Arab Spring Protests|
I went to New York University during the great 1990’s economic boom. Enthusiasm ran high within the Stern School of Business. During this time, much talk was made about our society moving from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. No longer were we creating wealth by manufacturing goods, but by becoming “Knowledge Workers”. As history would begin to enlighten us, we find that the Information Age has blossomed into so much more. Not simply Knowledge Workers, the Information Age has heralded an Awakened Citizenry.
The Information Age is highlighted by our immense interdependence on computational power and communications. This marked a significant increase in worker productivity & subsequent economic output. The advent of the Internet began to allow Middle Class Citizens the ability to manage this type of productivity in their social lives. This has precipitated the great rise in Smartphones & Social Media. I make the argument that as new technologies have emerged throughout society it has created new opportunities for political action.
The Arab Spring came out of discontent over economic & political inequalities. Each country has had events unfold unique to their situation. One unifying factor that comes up again and again is the ability to utilize technology to coordinate action. Time will tell, but we may look back at these events as a timed release. Societies felt oppressed for decades, first under the order of Colonialism. The fall of Colonialism was not complete salvation for these societies. Despotism soon took hold. This acted as a pressure cooker. Information Age technologies & responses to autocratic assertions thus blew the lid off the pressure cooker. As the Arab Spring sweeps through the Middle East, it is important for the West to remember the Revolutions in their past. We should be hopeful for the future and be aware of the great ramifications of future technologies.