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Now Out Of Never By Timur Kuran

Preference Falsification

Timur Kuran, in his article “Now out of never”, while referring to the revolution of East Europe in 1989, gave his theory in 1991, which explained the participation of people in a mass uprising and the vital factor for revolt. He was of the view that people rise against a government for a change out of their own personal choices, and there are no such things as the crowd or the opposition (Kuran). The main concepts of this theory run around the concept of preference falsification. According to Kuran, the opinions a person expresses in public are largely shaped by public opinion. So, the distinction between a person’s public and private expressed opinion is known as preference falsification (Kuran). People always prefer social acceptance. In a society, there are many people who have different personal opinions about the government or the revolution, but the individual expresses his feelings in consensus with the others. A person judges the cost and benefits of both sides and takes a stand (Kuran).

Kuran believes that in a society where the majority of the population is in favour of the government, the people who are against the government suppress their preferences because the cost of joining the opposition is high. But when more and more people go in favour of the opposition, the people who were in favour of the government also change their stance because they want social acceptance, and revolution occurs. Kuran calls this preference falsification. Kuran’s analysis of the Eastern European revolution showed that revolution occurs when many people lose their fear of expressing their feelings and preferences in public, and even a quasi-stable authoritarian regime can be overturned in a second not because of a mass revolution but because of preference falsification which can change the opinions of the individuals instantly.

Works Cited

Kuran, Timur. “Now out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the East European Revolution of 1989.” World Politics, vol. 44, no. 1, 1991, pp. 7–48.



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