|By Michael Flagg | Excerpted from the March 2011 Socionomist
Originally published under the title “Musings: What to Expect When Social Mood Turns Back Down”
Social mood is always somewhat mixed, as Robert Prechter points out. But when mood is trending one way at a large degree and another way at an even larger degree, its effects are especially mixed.
What will happen when social mood turns uniformly negative?
In this March 2011 article, Michael Flagg details what to expect in such an environment. He uses Prechter’s “Aspects of Social Polarity” (chapter 14 of The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior) as an outline for his expectations, and suggests concrete actions steps for you to take to prepare.
Here is a very brief excerpt of Flagg’s report.
Michael Flagg is a project manager at a nuclear research reactor. He holds degrees in history and nuclear engineering and is an occasional contributor to The Socionomist.
The move toward trade protectionism will continue. Keep an eye on the ongoing disputes between the US and China over the rare-earths trade; they will be part of an overall trend rolling back free trade agreements that were welcomed during the positive mood of the 1990s. Expect to hear much about how the United States was founded upon and grew behind significant trade barriers as a defense for why the US should put up new walls today.
Expect the tenor to be much more defensive, banks to be more conservative in their lending and personal debt to drop as people pay off their credit cards or default.
Action Items: Look for opportunities that others may be too frightened to take advantage of. Look for products that meet a local or regional need. If you’re composing or implementing a business plan, consider the impact that trade barriers would have on it.
Opposition will increase in many forms and on many levels—from labor strife in public unions and professional sports to increasing polarity between political parties to more disputes among and within commercial, neighborhood and family circles.
Action Items: The fewer players in your organization, the better. Huge projects that require agreement by diverse parties will struggle to get off the ground. Expect opposition. If you need many permits, complicated financing or political support, expect it to be difficult. I suggest focusing on small, discrete projects that can be handled quietly, cheaply and with minimal cooperation from others. …
In this four-page article, Flagg presents twenty-two additional polarities and related action items for the coming social mood decline. Flagg’s list is general and cursory; we recommend you use it to produce your own checklist of areas of concern and action steps.
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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.
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