October 15, 2012
The fungal meningitis outbreak tied to steroid shots has now spread to fifteen states, infected 214 people and killed 15, prompting calls for government regulation. We hope that if a big, fast-moving epidemic strikes, government agencies handle the crisis better than Florida Governor Rick Scott, who gave out an adult phone-sex number last Tuesday instead of the toll-free meningitis hotline.
Bear markets amplify the confusion that reigns in crisis. The May 2009 Socionomist related an “instructive account of society’s response to the threat of a flu epidemic in 1976. … the press thrived in the social petri dish of viral controversy. Experts argued that the immunization program was scientific idiocy. Critics multiplied. … Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz reassured Americans that there would be plenty of fertile hen eggs to grow the vaccine because ‘the roosters of America are ready to do their duty.’ New Jersey’s chief epidemiologist [said], ‘We can soberly estimate that approximately fifteen percent of the entire population will suffer disability reaction.’ The Parke-Davis drug company made millions of doses of the wrong vaccine” (Click here to read more). Social mood and major epidemics are connected. If stock markets start seriously collapsing, you might want to get that flu vaccination you’ve been putting off.
If you look closely, you can see patterns in social mood that help you predict social trends. Learn more with the Socionomics Premier Membership.