Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Some Socionomic Thoughts

A recent story out of Iraq is another socionomic marker on the road to collapse. It's just one of many data points, but a point well worth revisiting as the Western financial and social worlds teeter on the knife-edge of radical change.

U.S. wall seen worsening division of Baghdad
By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent - Analysis

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A U.S. military project to wall off a mainly Sunni Arab enclave in Baghdad evokes images of Israel's West Bank barrier for many Iraqis who believe the plan will widen sectarian rifts tearing their capital asunder.

Physically sealing Adhamiya and other troubled areas may have a fleeting impact on the level of bloodshed, analysts said. But it will further fray the social fabric of a city that has ripped very roughly into a Shi'ite east and Sunni west.

Now, the probable effects of building a wall around a large neighborhood will be catastrophic. We propose to create a mini-Gaza Strip on the east bank of the Tigris, a place where the limited pathways in and out will destroy the economy and create a further sense of helpless rage in the citizens there, creating an unbelievable opportunity for radicals and insurgents to exploit. All an Al Qaeda rep has to do now is say "Look - the Americans are doing to you what the Israelis did to the Palestinians. Join us and fight. We'll provide you with money and a chance to give your life meaning through struggle."

What will the Western forces be able to offer to counteract this? I have no idea.

Plus, an MSNBC story on the wall mentioned a chilling fact. The gates in and out will be guarded by Iraqi troops. Let's all pray that those troops are Sunni. If they are Shiite, it will only be a matter of time before another Shatila/Sabra or Damour happens behind those walls.

With this in mind, let's review a table of selected socionomic "poles" - emotional extremes that govern mass behavior during times of positive and negative social mood:




Selected Socionomic Poles
Positive Extreme
Negative Extreme

adventurousness
protectionism

alignment
opposition

benevolence
malevolence

concord
discord

confidence
fear

constructiveness
destructiveness

inclusion
exclusion

tendency to praise
tendency to criticize

Keep this table in mind as you follow stories on Congressional funding for the Iraq war, problems in the mortgage industry, the upcoming presidential race and community relations all across the U.S.

If my assumptions are correct, we are swinging towards the items in the right-hand column. Now, these different shades of emotion are always present in any debate, but the key point is that one pole or the other is always dominant - and that colors the decision-making process from individual decisions to national policy making.

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