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Tipping Points - Admission/Application Essay Example

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A tipping point is “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire” (Gladwell, “The Tipping Point”). It is often likened to a health epidemic such as flu – it is contagious, can have little causes but have…
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The Importance of Tipping Point in Public Sector Risk Management A tipping point is “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire” (Gladwell, “The Tipping Point”). It is often likened to a health epidemic such as flu – it is contagious, can have little causes but have big effects, and it happens dramatically instead of gradually (Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 9). Malcolm Gladwell believes that there are three factors for change to happen: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, the Power of Context (Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 27). It could lead to a shift in consciousness of individuals, which could then affect the stability of well established institutions. In the case of the government, it can lead to the rise and fall of regimes.
Knowing the anatomy of tipping points is important because it helps governments to control the direction of change, which is really at the heart of public risk management. Tipping points are inevitable but unpredictable occurrences (Nathan 20); it has the potential to introduce new innovations that benefit citizens, or if it not managed properly, could lead a country to chaos. The danger of tipping points was aptly summarized by Deepak Chopra in his article: Is Egypt a Tipping Point or a “Now What”?:
The day after a tipping point is always full of danger. Post-Soviet Russia lost an empire, witnessed the rise of mobsters and oligarchs, spun into widespread corruption, and eventually defaulted on the ruble. Freedom came at the price of unleashing forces that an authoritarian system had kept under control, or at least under wraps.
In the case of Egypt, the sudden change in consciousness of the “young, frustrated, internet-savvy generation” (Cerni) led to the downfall of a 30-year authoritarian regime. Everyone thought it was for the best. That was, until the Egypt military toppled its first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy and took over government leadership. Today, Egypt is once again in the international news because of the verdict of death imposed on 529 Muslims, supporters of Morsy, charged with the murder of a police officer and destruction of public property (Cullinane and Fahmy). As new dissent arise in Egypt, everyone is asking, when will the Egyptian revolution end? How will the new military rulers manage the rising unrest of its people and the international community?
Meanwhile, one can contrast the occurrences in Egypt from the methods used by the Chinese Community Party in maintaining hold over its people. Unlike Egypt, China provided its people a venue for dissent which is harmless to government rule. “Everyone knows about the problems of corruption, land grabs, environmental pollution, and the polarization of wealth. Citizens are widely aware that the regime itself says the political system needs to be reformed” (Nathan). While everyone in China desires for change, none have the will to rise against their government. This is perhaps they have seen how the lack of alternative solutions can usher in a regime that is even more abusive. Meanwhile, the international community is starting express disapproval of China’s bullying in the South China and East China Seas, no country wants to make the first move. After all, China’s economy is so big that a trade blockade to any country could lead to an economic crisis, and later on, a political crisis in that country. Everyone is waiting to join in the call for change but no one wanted to make that first call. This is how effective China’s public risk management is, and it can all be traced back to its leader’s sophisticated knowledge of how public sentiment works, and how it can be effectively harnessed.
On one hand, the knowledge of tipping points has enabled the proliferation of unproductive systems and processes. Non-democratic regimes have been able to control the mechanisms for change; hence controlling change so that is supports its own goals. On the other hand, tipping points made it clear for repressive regimes that their control has a limit. As such, it has lead to relatively greater freedom for citizens as non-democratic regimes are forced to make changes in an effort to control unrest. For one, repressive regimes must at least appear to uphold human rights. It must make a show of how its government agencies are working hard to benefit its citizens. In the end, public risk management is all about appeasing citizens, of making them feel that their concerns are heard and that something is being done about it.
Works Cited
Cerni, Paula. “A Perfect Storm: Tipping Points, Critical Mass, And Dynamics Of The Egyptian Revolution.” Countercurrents.Org. N. p., 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Chopra, Deepak. “Is Egypt a Tipping Point or a ‘Now What?’” San Francisco Chronicle 14 Feb. 2011.
Cullinane, Susannah, and Heba Fahmy. “Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Face Death Sentence: Will Egypt Carry It Out?” CNN 25 Mar. 2014.
Gladwell, Malcolm. “The Tipping Point.” Gladwell.Com. N. p., 2014. Print.
---. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
Nathan, Andrew J. “China at the Tipping Point? Foreseeing the Unforeseeable.” Journal of Democracy 24.1 (2013): 20–26. Print. Read More
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