|By Alan Hall, originally published in the June 2011 Socionomist|
In Chapter 14 of The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior, Robert Prechter noted the tendency for positive social mood to impel the desire to build and for negative mood to impel the desire to destroy. Lately, the hacker group Lulz Security (Lulz means “laughter at someone else’s expense”) has garnered headlines for successful attacks on prominent properties such as the CIA’s website. According to the BBC, LulzSec “opened a telephone request line so its fans can suggest potential targets.”6 At first, LulzSec and others like it (for example the hacker group “Anonymous”) mostly seemed like kids out to have some fun. But with their devastating attacks on Sony, and the recent release of confidential Arizona Department of Public Safety documents, LulzSec has emerged as the latest WikiLeaks wannabe. These escapades conjure up novelist Graham Greene’s short story “The Destructors,” in which a group of boys vandalize and ultimately destroy a 200-year-old house while the owner is away. The boys find a treasure in the home: a mattress stuffed with cash. So great is their impulse to destroy that, rather than pocket the money, they torch it. The hackers’ current disruptive impulses foreshadow far more destructive cyber attacks should mood continue to wax negative. As we said in the March 2010 issue of The Socionomist, “Socionomists expect cyber attacks to become both more prevalent and increasingly vicious during bear markets.”■
6LulzSec opens hack request line (2011, June15). BBC, Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13777129 on June 20, 2011.
The Socionomist is designed to help readers understand and anticipate waves of social mood. We also present the latest essays in the field of socionomics, the study of social mood; we anticipate that many of the hypotheses will be subjected to scientific testing in future scholarly studies.
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Most economists, historians and sociologists presume that events determine society’s mood. But socionomics hypothesizes the opposite: that social mood determines the character of social events. The events of history—such as investment booms and busts, political events, macroeconomic trends and even peace and war—are the products of a naturally occurring pattern of social-mood fluctuation. Such events, therefore, are not randomly distributed, as is commonly believed, but are in fact probabilistically predictable. Socionomics also posits that the stock market is the best available meter of a society’s aggregate mood, that news is irrelevant to social mood, and that financial and economic decision-making are fundamentally different in that financial decisions are motivated by the herding impulse while economic choices are guided by supply and demand. For more information about socionomic theory, see (1) the text, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior © 1999, by Robert Prechter; (2) the introductory documentary History's Hidden Engine; (3) the video Toward a New Science of Social Prediction, Prechter’s 2004 speech before the London School of Economics in which he presents evidence to support his socionomic hypothesis; and (4) the Socionomics Institute’s website, www.socionomics.net. At no time will the Socionomics Institute make specific recommendations about a course of action for any specific person, and at no time may a reader, caller or viewer be justified in inferring that any such advice is intended.