Around the world, people are getting better connected. Despite censorship, Chinese people are well connected through social media and this is already shaping collective behavior. The number of internet users in Iran has been increasing very rapidly. People in more developed countries are already well connected and those countries are not immune from social unrest. People of Spain, Italy, and Greece have been experiencing dwindling incomes and high youth unemployment. In the U.S. meanwhile, the class structure became so rigid that rising from humble origins is now harder in the U.S. than in many other countries. Of course, that kind of widespread social unrest would never happen here, one might think. Yet the recent uprising has been led by Turkey’s youth, which has not shown any significant political activism since 1970s. In fact, they were frequently described as a generation that shows insufficient interest in politics. Given the unpredictable nature of collective action, we should all expect to be surprised by crowds.
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