August 30, 2012
Negative social mood trends make people want to split, and I’m not talking rails (btw, that’s Lincoln’s actual wedge in the pic). When pessimism and uncertainty increase, people want to polarize, separate, identify with smaller ingroups and exclude outgroups. Differences that would get resolved in bull markets rive society into full-blown conflict in major bear markets. For example, 24 years of negative social mood preceded the Civil War (click here to read our 2010 study of secessionism).
Secessionist expressions were all over the news after the 2009 low in stocks—think Tea Party. They died down a bit as stocks rose from there, but never faded away. The latest manifestations are the Fort Stewart, Georgia anarchist militia group, aptly named F.E.A.R. (Forever Enduring, Always Ready), and the Lubbock Texas judge who expects “worst-case scenario” civil unrest if Obama is re-elected. The first group planned to overthrow the government and assassinate the president; the second adopts a Revolutionary War flair: “We’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.” These are embers that will die if mood improves, or ignite if it worsens.
If you look closely, you can see patterns in social mood that help you predict social trends. Learn more with the Socionomics Premier Membership.