, ,

Towards a theory of societal change and conflict: it can be argued that internal revolutions happen when new elites arise and gain power enough to challenge old ones. A corollary to this would be that revolutions such as these succeed when the old elites are weakened by war, insolvency or famine.

Despite the vaguely Marxist class-struggle overtones, such theory may yet hold merit, as evidenced by a good number of examples – to wit: the rise of generals and plebeian tribunes in the Roman Republic that led to civil war and ultimately to Octavian; the rise of mercantile elites in late-medieval Europe that led to toppling of lately-bankrupt French and English monarchies; the rise of the intellectual elites in the 19th century that led ultimately to Marxist revolutions in war-ravaged Russia and her neighbors.

Today, at least in the United States, no new elites appear to be rising, and even though ranks of old elites continue burgeoning, this theory would not advance an argument for pending revolution – unless, that is, the recent rise of technological entrepreneurs represents in fact emergence of a new and qualitatively different libertarian elite.