Social Mood Conference  |  Socionomics Foundation
Originally published in the Nov. 2010 Socionomist

Authoritarianism studies in the April and May issues of The Socionomist forecast that in a period of negative mood, many governments will pull the plug on large swaths of the Internet. In the U.S., the landscape is rapidly changing to make such action possible. The Senate Judiciary Committee on November 18 unanimously approved a bill that would give the Attorney General the right to shut down websites.

The private sector also reflects the growing regulatory urge: Microsoft Corporation says that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should have the authority to disconnect from the web individual computers that are infected with viruses. Since March 2008, Australia and France have embraced such regulations.

The Internet is a sensitive reflector of society’s rising polarization and desire to divide, regulate and control. For example, Tim Berners-Lee, the scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web, says some of its most successful users are theratening its core egalitarian principles. If this trend continues, he says, “The Web could be broken into fragmented islands.”

Eventually, governments may try to license Internet users via ISPs and, then, try to use that power to isolate and silence dissenters. We expect entrepreneurs to offer ways to bypass ISPs to gain Internet access, and regulators to attempt to stop them — setting up a ratcheting of conflict. The free and open Internet is a creation of peaking social mood; a large-degree bear market will change it radically.


Citations

1 Berners-Lee, T. (2010, November 22). Long live the web: a call for continued open standards and neutrality. Scientific American, Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web


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Most economists, historians and sociologists presume that events determine society’s mood. But socionomics hypothesizes the opposite: that social mood regulates 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.

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