Wednesday, October 16, 2013


'Slipping behind': Are we becoming a nation of pessimists?

Social mood in America, and I imagine a good portion of the rest of the world, is turning negative.

But America’s black mood is even darker than it already seems. For years most Americans have thought the economy bad, politics awful and the national trajectory skewed hard to doom and destruction. The startling difference in the NBC-Esquire survey is that most Americans now also think life is going poorly in their own backyard. The survey didn’t directly ask about happiness, but when evaluating their own lives more than 85 percent of people in the center thought they were stuck, “falling backward” or “slipping behind.”

According to the theory of socionomics, negative social mood change is the driver of bear markets.  Social mood is the cause and the effect is whether we live in peace or war, bull or bear market.

Social mood is a shared mental disposition that arises in humans when they interact socially. Social mood is unconscious, unremembered and endogenously regulated, and it constantly fluctuates in a fractal pattern. Social mood predisposes individuals in the group toward emotions, beliefs and actions that reflect the positive or negative trend of the mood, its extremity and its position in the pattern.
So what is the social mood and what does it tell us about what is happening in the U.S.?

 Two out of three of these people believe that the next generation has it even worse, and that young people in general are facing vicious headwinds like nothing their parents experienced.
The cost of all this sour feeling is a cascading sense that the old ways of America have failed, say the pollsters. It’s why most of the new American center says affirmative action has to go, and unions are a vestige of the past, and the Bible and U.S. Constitution could be jettisoned without harm as the nation searches for a way to right itself.
“People feel eroded,” said Democratic pollster Daniel Franklin, who helped conduct the survey. “They’ve seen the strength of the middle class wane, and correspondingly, the country as a whole begin to falter. Now they’re looking for new ideas, new strategies to rebuild their hopes and they haven’t found them yet.”

Pretty pessimistic.  Normally, with this much negativity I would say that the stock market could not fall.  I believe we ended the past period of optimism around 2000 and have been slowly slipping into a greater depression since.  The fact that the stock market has risen by 2.5 times since March 2009 masks some of these bad feelings but not entirely.  There is no respect for this bull market and the public has a good reason for this.  The bubble pumping activities of the Federal Reserve are widely seen as the impetus for the bull market and, as we saw a few months ago, any hint that Quantitative Easing will end sends the market into a fit.  This is not a good sign.  I think the market is one crisis away from beginning a huge bear market.  The key will be if we actually can break below 14,500 and how the market looks after that.  

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