An eye-opening update on the connection between social mood, the stock market and public health
By Vadim Pokhlebkin
On April 9, for the 6th year in a row, the Social Mood Conference again gathered under one roof experts and enthusiasts in socionomics, the new science of social prediction.
One of the speakers was Alan Hall, a senior researcher at the Socionomics Institute.
Below is an excerpt from Alan’s recent article, which presents a unique perspective on the rapid spread of the Zika virus. Since its publication in December, 20 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S., the total number of babies born with microcephaly in Brazil has exploded to nearly 4000, and officials in El Salvador are urging all citizens to avoid having children until 2018.
Yes — the virus has become so threatening that a government is actually trying to drive its national birthrate to 0 for two years.
Brazil Bears Watching as 2016 Olympics Loom
By Alan Hall, Socionomics Institute
One of the most effective epidemics charts I’ve ever presented shows four London cholera epidemics which followed sharp declines in the FTSE All-Share Index in the mid-1800s (Fig. 1).
The lesson from the chart is simple and clear: hygiene is largely maintenance, and maintenance gets neglected in bear markets.
Today, Brazil is sadly following that classic path: negative mood is fostering unsanitary conditions that produce health threats.
Figure 2 shows Brazil’s social mood as reflected by its benchmark Bovespa Index, which topped in 2008, rallied to a lower high and has steadily trended lower since.
Socionomic theory proposes that long periods of negative mood produce a number of conditions that make society increasingly susceptible to infectious disease.
It would be hard to find a better article that links disease with negative mood than “Spreading Virus Adds to Brazil’s Woes,” in the December 22 issue of The Wall Street Journal. The article describes the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that has been around since the 1940s and is now spreading rapidly in Brazil. It has been linked to “an explosion of cases of microcephaly, an extremely rare condition in which babies are born with shrunken skulls because their brains aren’t growing properly.” The article reports:
“[W]ith the country mired in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the nation’s capital transfixed by a massive corruption scandal and impeachment proceeding against President Dilma Rousseff, some worry that the nation isn’t mobilizing fast enough to battle the quick-moving epidemic.”
Microcephaly cases surged from 147 in 2014 to 2,782 so far in 2015. Brazil’s mosquito population also surged in recent years. There is no vaccine for the Zika virus, and authorities are scrambling to “drain water-logged areas and search out and eradicate larvae-filled water supplies. “This is an unprecedented human tragedy,” said Dr. Terra, who based his projections on the handling of the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in 2009.
Brazil’s social mood and social hygiene situations bear watching especially closely as the 2016 Summer Olympics grow nearer, because the Rio de Janeiro Games may provide abundant disease vectors. A recent AP study found the Olympic water venues are,
“[S]ewage infested … as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land … disease-causing viruses directly linked to human sewage at levels up to 1.7 million times what would be considered highly alarming in the U.S. or Europe. … Experts said athletes were competing in the viral equivalent of raw sewage …”
One German athlete was “treated at a Berlin hospital for MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria, shortly after sailing in an Olympic test event in Rio in August.”
Let’s hope medals and stirring memories are all that athletes and spectators carry home from the Summer Games next year.
The social expressions you saw discussed in this article, and the movements of the stock markets in the countries in which they occurred, illustrate how socionomics can offer you a powerful context in which to understand — and forecast — world events.
If you are intrigued by these ideas, you must watch the on-demand video of the 2016 Social Mood Conference, an event that gathered under one roof the world’s top innovators at the forefront of social mood research and application from a variety of fields — physics, finance, economics, mathematics, accounting and business.