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January 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun? Social Media, the Arab Spring, and the Reformation Era

Uwimana Basaninyenzi's picture

A few weeks ago, the Economist provided an interesting take on social media, the Arab Spring, and the Reformation era. The article, How Luther Went Viral, claims that centuries before Facebook and the Arab Spring, social media helped bring about the Reformation era.  Led by Martin Luther, the Reformation was a period of religious revolt that led to the division of Western Christianity and the start of Protestantism. The developments of this period were propelled by the advent of the printing press, which the article describes in rich detail. But it begins by making an interesting claim about how Luther and his allies promoted the message of religious reform with the social media of their day—pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts. So basically, the central argument of the piece states that what happened in the Arab Spring is what happened in the Reformation era: a new form of media provided the opponents of an authoritarian regime an opportunity to voice their concerns, affirm their discontent, and mobilize their actions.

Job satisfaction matters … and the measurement of job satisfaction matters

Jed Friedman's picture

Worker job satisfaction has been linked to salient measures of performance such as productivity, absenteeism, and workforce turnover. As such it is a construct that economists care about. I’ve recently reviewed research on the determinants of job satisfaction in order to prepare for a study on pay-for-performance reforms in the health sector. And I’ve found a few surprises…

Egypt: Going "ultra" is now the norm

Khaled Sherif's picture
OK, I’m a Zamalek fan, I admit it.  For those of you that don’t follow Egyptian football (soccer), Zamalek is always the team that finishes second.  The team that is so close to winning the title, but always stumbles in the end.  If you have a heart condition, or if you are seriously vested in getting one, become a Zamalek fan and it won’t be long before your first visit to the neighborhood cardiologist.  Yes, it is that heartbreaking. Then there is Ahly (National).  They always finish first and just manage to nudge Zamalek out by that one point, or that one goal for that matter.  They always win, it’s what they do.  They have the biggest purse, the larger number of fans, and they all wear red, Ahly’s playing color. 

The Thunder of Multitudes

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Perhaps it should not have been surprising that given the rolling thunder of multitudes that the world witnessed throughout 2011, the global news media would end the year with reflections on the fact that citizens massed, marched and yelled at the powerful.  If you are English-speaking, you would have noticed that TIME Magazine’s person of the year was The Protester.  Kurt Andersen’s cover story is beautifully written; so too are the photographs and illustrations that accompany the piece. If you have not read it, try to do so.

Context and theory

Markus Goldstein's picture

Coauthored with Quy-Toan Do

In response to my blog post last week, one of my colleagues stopped me in the hall and pointed out that I missed the point.   So in response, I invited him to join this week for a discussion.   Our discussion follows:
Toan: A survey without an underlying research question is like salt without pepper.   What you need to do is talk about what questions the survey is designed to answer.

Thank you all and let’s keep it alive!

Inger Andersen's picture
Over 600 people across the world joined me today in the first Live Web Chat in Arabic and English hosted by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region of the World Bank. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate your time, your seriousness, your passion and the very clear commitment in all your comments and questions. I am convinced that embracing social media technology platforms to enable our dialogue and discussion with you is the right way to go and I salute all the young people in MENA who have stood out as such a creative example in these communication spaces. We have learned so much from you.

Is democracy bad for Kenya’s economic development?

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

When you are overtaken by yet-another reckless Matatu driver you may have sympathy for Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s long-time autocrat, who is credited with Singapore’s transformation from third world to first world. He once famously claimed: “Developing countries need discipline more than democracy.”

Boosting Intra-African Trade: What Role for External Trade Regime?

Dominique Njinkeu's picture

African Head of States and Governments will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia later this month to launch a continent-wide free trade agreement (CFTA). The summit will focus on solutions to the numerous impediments that hinder intra-African trade: inefficient transit regimes and border crossings procedures for goods, services and people; poor implementation of regional integration commitments.