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Bruce Bueno de Mesquita —
born on November 24, 1946,
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a political scientist, professor at New York University, and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution... (wikipedia)
There are lots of people shaping decisions, and so if we want to predict correctly, we have to pay attention to everybody who is trying to shape the outcome, not just the people at the pinnacle of the decision-making pyramid.
Dictators, unlike Democrats, depend on a small coterie to sustain their power. These backers, generally drawn from the military, the senior civil service, and family or clan members, have a synergistic relationship with their dictator. The dictator delivers opportunities for them to become rich, and they protect him from being overthrown.
The fact that we see some people doing what appears to be good civic-minded deeds may be because that is their true intention, and it may be that that is their best way to hold onto power in a setting where they have to depend on a lot of people.
In order to predict effectively, we need to use science. And the reason that we need to use science is because then we can reproduce what we're doing; it's not just wisdom or guesswork. And if we can predict, then we can engineer the future.
To understand why dictators fall, it helps to recognise factors that produce a perfect anti-dictatorial storm. Barring missteps such as those that led to Gaddafi's undoing, a dictator's survival can be at risk because of newness in office, poor health, or old age combined with economic trouble.