|By Alan Hall, originally published in the June 2011 Socionomist|
The financial markets have rallied. But in keeping with the larger-degree negative trend in social mood that began in 2000, authoritarianism and the backlash against it continue to grow.
On May 11, a federal grand jury in Virginia began hearing testimony against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for disclosing diplomatic and military secrets. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists and a national security expert says the case is a part of a much broader crackdown by the Obama administration. He writes, “By every available measure, the level of domestic intelligence surveillance activity in 2010 increased from the year before, according to a new Justice Department report to Congress on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”1
In an ironic twist, even WikiLeaks—the whistleblower-in-chief—has joined the movement to suppress information flow. The site now requires associates to sign a non-disclosure agreement that “imposes a penalty of 12 million British pounds—nearly $20 million—on anyone responsible for a significant leak of the organization’s unpublished material.”2
This month, on the 40-year anniversary of their initial release, the National Archives published the full 47-volume Pentagon Papers for the first time. The media cited obvious parallels between the 1971 whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and WikiLeaks founder Assange. However, pundits missed the fact that both episodes occurred early in large-degree bear markets, indicating social-mood declines. One needs the socionomic insight to see that parallel—and the deepening conflict that it implies.■
1Aftergood, S. (2011, May 6). Domestic intelligence surveillance grew in 2010. Secrecy News, Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2011/05/2010_fisa.html on May 24, 2011.
2Poulsen, K. (2011, May 11). Wikileaks threatens its own leaders with $20 million penalty. Wired.com, Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/05/nda-wikileaks/ on May 24, 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.