30 June 2018   Leave a comment

A new study published in Science indicates that a committed minority of about 25% of a given group can fundamentally change the attitudes of the entire group.  The study was conducted the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania and its findings are worth pondering.  According to Scientific American:

“….the paper describes an online experiment in which researchers sought to determine what percentage of total population a minority needs to reach the critical mass necessary to reverse a majority viewpoint. The tipping point, they found, is just 25 percent. At and slightly above that level, contrarians were able to ‘convert’ anywhere from 72 to 100 percent of the population of their respective groups. Prior to the efforts of the minority, the population had been in 100 percent agreement about their original position.”

Further studies are needed to verify the findings, but they raise interesting questions about the dynamics of democracy and governance.  And we need to figure out what determines that high level of cohesion and commitment within the minority.

 

The UN International Organization for Migration, based in Geneva, has, for the first time since 1951, voted down the US candidate to lead it.  The US had proposed Ken Isaacs, who works for the Christian nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse, but there was evidence that suggested that Isaacs had, in the past, spoken negatively about Muslims, climate change, and refugees.  The member states also took into consideration the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords and the Human Rights Council and the generally negative attitude of the current administration toward international organizations.  Isaacs was also opposed by hundreds of non-governmental organizations working with refugees and the issue of migration.

 

The US ambassador to Estonia, a career diplomat named James D Melville, has resigned over disagreements with President Trump’s policy toward Europe.  He joins US ambassador to Panama John Feeley and Elizabeth Shackelford, who worked in Nairobi for the US mission to Somalia,  There are also dozens of open Ambassadorships for which the Trump Administration has yet to name candidates.  The US State Department remains severely understaffed and underfunded.

Posted June 30, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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