Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tipping Points


In this visualization, we see the tipping point where minority opinion (shown in red) quickly becomes majority opinion. Over time, the minority opinion grows. Once the minority opinion reached 10 percent of the population, the network quickly changes as the minority opinion takes over the original majority opinion (shown in green).

Here is some fascinating research out of RPI where a team has constructed a model for how ideas spread:

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Psychology of Standing Apart From the Crowd

Socionomics provides us with a model to not just analyze herd behavior and how those waves of mood affect markets and society, but also provides us with warning signs that allow us to part ways with the crowd when necessary to reap great rewards or avoid negative consequences.

Standing apart from the crowd can be extremely difficult. Embedded below is an episode of Bloomberg's Risk Takers that profiles Michael Burry, the founder of Scion Capital, LLC, who anticipated the housing crash. There are some fantastic examples of how emotion - be it mass mood or the individual anger of investors towards Mr. Burry, even when he was proven right - trumps logic and reason most every time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ain't No Tyranny Like Small Town Tyranny

I have often written here about the need to build ties to your local community (the real world one, not just the online communities you belong to). It will be important to have strong ties to your neighbors once the gale force winds of the Grand SuperCycle decline whip across the country.

This is not to say that I believe that smaller units of governance are always best or that small-towns offer some sort of shiny happy alternative to the problems that are going to crush urban areas. The wave of negative mood and the anger, fear and authoritarian tendencies will be on display all around you. Case in point, Gould, Arkansas, where the city council is trying to pass an ordinance banning the formation of any groups that discuss city business, unless those groups fill out all the necessary papers (modern tyranny always comes back to that, doesn't it?):


You may laugh and say it is just Arkansas, but this very well could be coming to a polity near you - and you best hope you have a mayor or civic groups willing to stand up to it like the Mayor of Gould.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rich and Scared

Just to re-emphasize what you already know intellectually. As events spiral downward during major negative-mood eras, fear can take over and rational thought goes out the window. For men and women grinding it out as employees, that can mean being paralyzed by fear after getting fired from their job or a deep-seated rage at some faceless entity that is the cause such as "the government" or "big corporations" or one of a hundred various ethnic or social groupings. Policies favored by voters in times of extreme negativity can very well lead to catastrophic social consequences down the road.

For the wealthy, especially the very wealthy, fear plays an enormous factor in decisions to deploy that wealth, to support (or oppose) political candidates or even to choose where and how to live.

As a recent article from WSJ.com puts it:

Why the Rich Fear Violence in the Streets
By Robert Frank
Last year, I was at a billionaire’s home in California and I asked him to describe his biggest worry. He pointed to a 19th century painting on the wall, which depicted a female beggar receiving alms from a wealthy gentleman and giving her patron a flower in return.

“That’s what I worry about,” he said. “But instead of flowers, she’s got guns. Violence in the streets, aimed at the wealthy. That’s what I worry about...”

The socionomic drivers for this era of negative mood are still murky to me. I do think the global conglomo banks will suffer immensely - first financially (the tremors in Europe are making more than one highly paid banker sweat in his $1,000 suit right now), then politically as they are easy targets. But could we see a descent into full-blown "class" warfare? That's something the U.S. has historically been fairly immune to, especially compared to Europe. But how will the rich react when the riots come? Will they flee in droves? Build up fortified residences? Actually engage their communities and deploy their wealth to keep some of the angry young males off the streets? Something else?

Home and personal security will continue to be big earners if you have the right clientele, I imagine, at least in the near term.

h/t globalguerrillas

Monday, July 11, 2011

How The (Mood of the) Grinch May Steal Christmas

This is out of the U.K., but I imagine the situation is similar on this side of the Atlantic. This is a deflating credit bubble. Credit and leverage underlies everything in our modern financial world and the whole system is built to only operate efficiently in expansion mode.

Cash-strapped retailers face collapse over cost of Christmas stock
by Rupert Neate, The Guardian
The cost of stocking the shelves for Christmas may force the collapse of several more high street retailers, a leading accountancy firm has warned.

Ernst & Young said retailers who had been "hanging on in there" since the 2008-09 recession might not be able to build up enough cash to pay for extra stock for the crucial festive season as well as the rent due at the next quarter-day in September...

There is another point as well - some of these companies might even be projecting positive numbers that would move them from "hanging in there" to profitability, but if their credit gets choked off, they could very easily collapse very quickly to the surprise of their employees, shareholders and suppliers.

Adding this potential retail pain on top of the ongoing struggles in Europe over the bailout of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy and we certainly have the "excuses" or "emotional targets" that will be used to express the coming rogue wave of negative mood.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Things To Come...

Charles Hugh Smith has an excellent blog post up, describing some of the outlines of the coming crisis. There is a strong socionomic flavor to it (and to most of his writings) and I highly recommend his work:

The Shape of Things to Come
by Charles Hugh Smith
Yesterday I laid out why the U.S. will inevitably experience The Great Reset. What comes after that systemic devolution/crisis is unknown, but we can speculate on the shape of things to come.

Though we cannot know the outcome, we can certainbly discern the outlines of the crisis itself. These destabilizing conditions will force a crisis at some point and will be resolved one way or another:

1. Profound political disunity...

2. A dearth of leadership...

3. The unstable double-bind of rule by Financial Plutocracy...

4. The political corruption of religion...

I especially appreciate his paying attention to the religious aspect of the coming crisis. Great Awakenings have occurred multiple times in the past and these non-material shifts in mood/consciousness brought on by new or revitalized belief structures have had a profound influence on history, economics and politics.

Will this next Great Awakening be the Green Religion I continue to worry about? A revitalized and possibly more mystical version of Christianity as opposed to the Pharisee-like efforts to mate religion with the sanctioned guns of government we've seen over the past few decades? Something "new" that will burst upon the scene much like the irruption of Islam under the hand of the Prophet Muhammad? A "back to the land" or commune movement like the Trascendalists of the 1800s or the Hippies of the 1960s?

This Awakening may not happen until this coming crisis has bottomed out, but in a way that is almost too bad, as these Awakenings, like them or not, tend to set up the new guideposts for society. We will be stumbling into this one with no moorings and all the guideposts deconstructed to dust.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy 4th of July Weekend

Life is hectic and posts have been few here at FutureJacked. It can't be helped at the moment, but I did want to take a minute to wish you all a Happy 4th of July.

Take a few moments to think about what the Founders of the Republic accomplished, think about some of the founding documents and the debates held both during the Revolutionary period and the events surrounding the Ratification of the Constitution, and take a moment to enjoy just what they did accomplish, what was left undone and perhaps raise a glass as we march resolutely into the storm of the Grand Supercycle decline to what might be again in the decades to come...