Causes and Examples of Paradigm Shifts


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Paradigm Shift: It is a concept that was put forth by an American physicist Thomas Kuhn stating that the paradigm shift is a change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. In simple words, it can be stated that an important change that occurs changes the way we were thinking about a concept into a new and different one.

Examples of Paradigm Shift: The transition view between Newtonian gravity and the Einsteinian General Relativity can be cited as the latest example in science for a paradigm shift. In the year 2003, the scientists in Seattle put a theory contrasting to Albert Einstein’s theory that light and gravity travel at the same speed at 186,284 miles per second. The scientists were not convinced about Einstein’s theory and they concluded that there was a 20% marginal error that light travels at the same speed as gravity. Twenty percent is a huge margin error as it is more than 36,000 miles per second of light travel speed which is more than four times the diameter of the earth. Further, they added that due to weather conditions they were able to put it at 20% if not it would have been more than the given numbers. In the year 2000, Albert Einstein was mention as the man of the century by Time Magazine and he outlived mostly all Newton’s theory of gravity. But with the paradigm shift of belief that light and gravity do not travel at the same speed as Einstein claimed.

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The root causes for this paradigm shift are mainly because Einstein didn’t experiment to prove his fact that both traveled at the same time, he just took it for granted. The scientists when they held the test in September 2002 in Virginia, the USA they had enough proof in their hands to disapprove of Albert Einstein’s claim that Light and gravity moved at the same speed.

Another example of Paradigm shift in the field of economics was the Keynesian Revolution set by John Maynard Keynes. Until then it was neoclassical economics that was followed by the economists who claimed that economics must be focussed on the goods, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand. But this theory was about to be shifted with the Keynesian Revolution in 1936. John Keynes insisted that demand and not the supply is the key factor in determining the levels of employment. The revolution is primarily a huge change in economic view which had a common framework where many of the ideas were ideas and policy prescriptions advocated by Keynes. After the great depression this theory was reframed by John Hicks and the term” Keynesian Revolution” was used in 1947. Although free-market economics occurred in the 1990s, the huge amount of speculation was the main concern and it got a bad turn during the 1997 Asian financial crisis which again saw an up growth of Keynesian resurgence in 2008-09.

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