Arab Revolutions - a Black Swan Event
The world is abuzz yet again - the Arab protests turned revolutions spread like a wildfire across Northern Africa. Yet what's most surprising about those events is the general failure of anticipate and analyse them.
Post-factum a number of explanations have been offered, from the spread of Twitter culture and the Internet, economic downturn or just historical bubble of injustice and discontent waiting to burst. Many of those theories hold true, but what's surprising is how badly mainstream analysts failed to anticipate and to adequately analyse the processes in the region.
In this respect at least the world was as much, if not much more unprepared as it was when the berlin wall fell and a system that the West has been battling with mixed success for 50 years simply disintegrated.
The Middle East is one of the most researched and politically and economically vested regions on the world. There are numerous governments, NGOs and corporations researching it for their own ends. Yet it seems that most of them failed to anticipate what could be the biggest event in the region for the past 65 years.
In this sense, the Arab revolutions are a classic example of the Black Swan theory. Researched by Nassim Taleb - Black Swan events are characterised as:
- The event is a surprise (to the observer).
- The event has a major impact.
- After its first recording, the event is rationalized by hindsight, as if it could have been expected (e.g., the relevant data were available but not accounted for).
So if I were an economic or political researched I'd seriously consider some book shopping right now.