This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Power Law Relationships In Insurgency Based Conflict

672 words - 3 pages

Lately much ado is being made of the findings of Sean Gourley and his crew regarding power law relationships they’ve found in insurgency-based conflict. For some quick background, go here: and watch the 7 minute TED video.

Let me be frank. This is another prime example of academics armed with mathematical/statistics based techniques run amok with statistical inference and a naïve belief that it can predict the future.

First, let’s get some perspective. The discovery of power law relationships in conflict is not new. Lewis Fry Richardson discovered a power law relationship between intensity of conflict and the frequency of its occurrence as early as the 1940s. That discovery has been a result in search of a theory ever since. So far, no one has found a satisfying explanation for why the relationship exists, but it has continued to be one of the most robust findings in conflict literature.

Along come Gourley et al, and suddenly the finding is new again. But his group applied the idea to insurgency to see if the relationship exists there as well, and sure enough, it does. But they take the research a little further down the field and discover that the slope coefficient of -2.5 seems to hold as a common value across all tested insurgencies. On its own, this is an interesting finding.

Wired magazine has published some criticisms of the findings of Gourley’s group, and these criticisms center primarily on the quality of the data they used. I don’t find these criticisms to be particularly insightful, mainly because just about any data can be subjected, accurately, to the same criticism. In the vernacular, it’s all crap, but it’s the crap that we have. To really indict the data, one would have to demonstrate that it has a particular bias one way or the other, and that is a challenging task.

No, where Gourley and crew fly off the rails are in the inferences they make from the finding. On the website I pasted above, have a look at the 14 key features...

Find Another Essay On Power Law Relationships in Insurgency-Based Conflict

Abuse of Power in the Movie Power, Politics, and Conflict

661 words - 3 pages Causes of the Problem Power, Politics, and Conflict Throughout the movie, there is very obvious abuse of power by managers in all three working environments. Power is the ability that an individual has to influence the behaviour of another individual and oppose any unwanted pressure in return (Mann, 2013). In Nick’s case, his boss holds his authority over Nick by implying the possibility of a promotion only to reward himself (Scott, 2011

Comparison between power and law in Shakespeare

1567 words - 6 pages The intersection of power and lawIn the modern world it is very common for power and law to intersect. In many aspects of the modern world this same idea is used, such as movies, music, and novels. This holds true for authors/poets such as William Shakespeare, who is renowned as the greatest literary men to have every composed a story. Whether it was his historical plays, tragedies, or comedies, there was always interesting twist between power

Differences between The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument in Resolving Conflict In Couples’ Relationships

2548 words - 10 pages . Epstein, they conclude that characteristics of conflict is directly link to marital quality. They summarized some main points about the relationship conflict based from the view of expert in their journal. Conflicts are inevitable in every couples’ relationships and it is common for couples to have disagreements. Besides, couples tend to be more satisfied with their relationships if they deal with conflicts by mutual satisfaction. The feelings of

The Burning Power of Mississippi Law Law is power, a power which was abused in Mississippi, 1964

969 words - 4 pages empowerment of the disempowered individuals and/or groups, which normally leads to the downfall of the once powerful character/s.Alan Parker's fact-based, but heavily fictionalised civil rights-era thriller, Mississippi Burning, employs the concept of an imbalance of power to shape the viewers' understanding of the world in the past, and also, present. The film is based on the FBI investigation into the disappearance of three young civil rights workers in

The "Flip-side" of Power An essay on the conflict of power and safety in Macbeth

935 words - 4 pages in conflict. The power of knowledge and the pursuit of power lead to a decline in comfort. As Lady Macbeth and Macbeth discover, those without power, including the people they murdered find the most comfort. Like trying to measure two factors with precision, trying to reach both goals to a high degree is impossible. At the same time, the two are able to decline together. That's why a balance needs to be found between the human need of security and the dangerous pursuits of power.

The Internal Conflict of Relationships in D.H. Lawrence's The Horse Dealer's Daughter

1675 words - 7 pages The Internal Conflict of Relationships in D.H. Lawrence's The Horse Dealer's Daughter Love is one of the most complex and boundless emotions that human kind experiences. There is no set definition as to what it is or how it is felt by all, to each person it is a very intimate and personal evolution of a bit of the soul. It is for that reason that it is not strange to find both Mable Pervin's and Jack Fergusson's identification of love so

Conflict Theory Based on Stratification in the Social Class in Society

696 words - 3 pages some with more power then others, in other words. Those that benefit from a certain social structure want to maintain it. c) Change is revolutionary not evolutionary. Change is a consequence of competition between social classes competing interests rather then adaption. So it's not because we adapt to new social systems that change occurs in society but because there are competing interests. IV. Conflict theorists view stratification based on

Outline and assess the argument that power relationships in the family have fundamentally changed

1610 words - 6 pages protected by law so overall there hasn't been a decrease in domestic violence against women but an increase in reporting it.On top of violence against women there exists child abuse. Steve Taylor (1991) has drawn our attention to the problem in defining and measuring the level of child abuse, particularly critical of the research methods used to collect information on the levels of child abuse. Taylor points out that there are based either on official

Symbolic Illustration of the Power of Relationships in Susan Glaspell's Trifles

1197 words - 5 pages Symbolic Illustration of the Power of Relationships in Susan Glaspell's Trifles A friend can be a remarkable thing. Unfortunately, many lack the powerful bonds that all humans need to survive and lead healthy, happy lives. In Susan Glaspell's play Trifles, Mrs. Wright is starved of the human interaction and relationships she so desperately needs. Consequently, she is never rescued from her loneliness, is brought to the point where she

A Day In The Life Of A Juvenile In Conflict With The Law

1669 words - 7 pages "A day in the life of a juvenile in conflict with the law." The Classical Perspective Scene 1: The Nicole Show NICOLE: Hello, and welcome to the Nicole show. Our topic today is bad teens or bad parents, and good boot camps. Today we have with us Suzanne and her daughter Lexi, from Mankato, Minnesota. Please welcome Suzanne to the show. Suzanne, would you mind explaining what has been going on at home between you and your

The Recurring Theme of Conflict in Relationships Throughout Much Ado About Nothing, Wuthering Heights, and A Streetcar Named Desire

1877 words - 8 pages The writers of Much Ado about Nothing, Wuthering Heights, and A Streetcar Named Desire all incorporate conflict in relationships as reoccurring theme in their texts. There are a number of different forms of relationships in the texts such as marital, romantic and family relationships and they are all presented with complexity by the authors as their opinions on the subject matter will be influenced differently due to the era they live in and

Similar Essays

Effects Of The Incorporation Of International Law Into The Dynamics Of Organized Anarchy And How Power Relationships Are Altered

719 words - 3 pages Describe the effects of the incorporation of international law into the dynamics of organized anarchy. How for example does this alter power relationships? Does it expand or contract the number of political participants? Does it alter institutional arrangements and priorities?To understand the incorporation of international law, which is the body of rules that control or influence the rights of nations in relation to each other, into the

Conflict In Interpersonal Relationships Essay

1843 words - 7 pages Conflict in Interpersonal Relationships Conflict. It could happen with a friend, romantic partner, co-worker, or complete stranger. There are many researchers out there who study conflict and all of the aspects to it. One thing that is clear is that conflict is inevitable in every interpersonal relationship, and it requires understanding, management, and reconciliation to prevent damage to the relationship. Dean Tjosvold and Lin Wang both of

Role Of Conflict In Shaping Interpersonal Relationships

657 words - 3 pages conflicts. This paper will show that conflict plays a defining role in interpersonal relationships using demonstrations from the film Good Will Hunting. The film covers the life of a young man, Will Hunting, who lives in deplorable conditions despite his outstanding cognitive abilities (Good will hunting). He blames himself for all the things that happened to him as a child, and consequently hates himself. This results in a state of self-sabotage

Power In Construction Of Law Essay

1239 words - 5 pages How does power contribute to the construction of law, both on the books and in action? Power, the ability to influence others and the course of events, affects laws and shapes cultural beliefs in society. In our society, power is said to be equally distributed throughout the people, and there is a democratic belief that collective action is able to create change. However, collective power is heavily influenced by the wealthy. Those with