Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Obama and the J-Curve of revolutions

A classic idea in sociology is Davies J-Curve. This idea states that people are most discontent, and therefore revolutions most likely to happen, when things start getting better, not when things are initially really bad. Expectations continue to grow, but reality lags behind. Here's a figure of it:

It seems that the country is at a rather low point, with the financial crisis and low moral after George Bush, and Obama has raised expectations considerably. Initially, he should be able to make somewhat easy changes, but over time the more intractable problems will remain. I wonder if he'll get caught up in an expectations-reality gap in coming years--even if things are going better than know.

No comments: