Monday, April 16, 2012

More Negative Mood Anecdotes

Argentina continues to be my favorite touchstone for what is to come for most Western governments and societies. After their debt collapse and currency devaluation a decade ago, followed by the seizure of private retirement funds, I think they are blazing a trail we'll see trampled down by many governments between now and 2020.

Here is some saber-rattling about nationalization of a key energy company using the language of scarcity and depletion (note that Ms. Kirchner's government says YPF has not invested "enough" into the sector to keep supplies sufficient to meet public demand. We'll see how government control, if it comes to that, will help with that. Between depletion, high costs for advanced extraction techniques and a high dose of bureaucracy, one can imagine the outcome. Add in some threats to retake the Malvinas and we would have a full-blown negative mood marker in play here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Open Thread for Anyone to Comment from the Socionomics Summit

Alas, I will again miss this year's Socionomics Summit.  If anyone attending gets the time, feel free to drop a comment here to let us know what we are missing.

Thanks in advance.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This is Your Brain on Optimism

Here is some research that could prove very interesting to those of us interested in Socionomics:

by Robert T. Gonzalez, io9
We humans are a hopeful bunch — so hopeful, in fact, that our views of the future are often irrationally positive. But at what point does unflagging optimism become detrimental to our progress and success? Is there any chance that our starry-eyed tendencies could actually work in our favor, or do they simply leave us unprepared for future misfortunes?

It would be very interesting to conduct these fMRI studies over a period of time and see if this optimistic bias shifts over time and then compare that data to the resulting Elliott Wave patterns found in market movements.

If nothing else, this article reinforces my belief we are still in a net-negative mood era (with a long way to go before we exit it), otherwise I don't think we'd be discussing how optimism might be a bad thing in all cases.  Amazing the doors fMRI can open for us.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The New Burning Man Trend

Another Greek Tragedy getting traction in the media:

All hope 'annihilated,' retiree kills himself outside Greek parliament
by staff and news services
A retired Greek pharmacist shot himself dead outside Greece's parliament Wednesday, saying he refused to scrounge for food in the garbage, touching a nerve among ordinary Greeks feeling the brunt of the country's economic crisis.

The public suicide by the 77-year-old in the center of Athens quickly triggered an outpouring of sympathy in a country where one in five is jobless and a sense of national humiliation has accompanied successive rounds of salary and pension cuts.

Just hours after the death, an impromptu shrine with candles, flowers and hand-written notes protesting the crisis sprung up in the central Syntagma square where the suicide occurred. Dozens of bystanders gathered to pay their respects...

Self-immolation has played an increasingly imporant part in the "resistance" memes that are building up as more and more people lose faith in systems that look corrupt beyond repair (see Tunisia as a specific case and this article discussing the building phenomenon in the Arab World). 

Most of these horrible events are swept under the rug and receive little to no attention in the various media.  They are potentially powerful images, though.  When this rally finally collapses, self-immolation may become part and parcel of the wave of anger that will come to dominate politics and society.  Watch also for the tipping point, when people who feel they have nothing left to lose turn from self-destruction, to the destruction of those they blame for the destruction of their dreams...