Going to Hell in a Handbasket, Part 2
In Part 1 I shared an exchange with my friend Santiago about my observation that we are entering into a period of negative social mood, and that in the past similar periods have had some dark consequences for humanity.
This has stirred things up quite a bit, don’t you think? (If you haven’t read Part 1, I suggest that you do, including the comments people have posted, and my answers to those comments, which contain a lot of important information.)
By the way, I haven’t shared any of the math involved in wave theory, or the details about the fractal nature of these waves because, though interesting, it would probably put everyone to sleep, and it’s rather complicated. If you really want to go into this more deeply, buy Robert Prechter’s books, or go to socionomics.net.
At any rate, Santiago wasn’t convinced by what I said in my first communication with him (though he seems to be more convinced now that he actually went and read up on the subject). Here is his reply to my original post, and my answer (Santiago, I’m making you famous—I hope you’re happy):
The Socionomic theory is great and Bob Prechter’s predictions have a lot of ground. And of course, whenever we find a theory that makes sense for us we tend to cling to it as THE THING.
We all live in bubbles and as usual we always see others bubbles before we see our own. This happens a lot in my experience with the people in the US, they are so focused in their own history that is very hard for them to see a more wordily perspective without comparing it with what has happened there. Although they tend to think they do.
What you suggest is something that CAN happen, – it would be nice to see some numbers on the probability of it happening – And everybody should research about it, just like everybody should research about the new waves of consciousness that are arising and their impact on society (please don’t confuse this with new age magical thinking). This among many other things creates a new context for the world in which history CAN BUT NOT NECESARILY WILL happen again. To say “just look at history” can be pretty blind sighted.
We haven’t yet developed a unified theory that can completely predict what will happen in the future.
To say that we are moving towards a utopia is as deluded as to say that the end is near.
There are people who say “follow me to utopia” this is very dangerous, there’s also people who say “the end is near” very dangerous as well. But probably the most dangerous are the ones that say “I KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT and the rest of you are just plain stupid for not seeing it.”
Like I said, everyone should do their own research and draw their own conclusions, but I think is unhealthy (and naive) to remove all doubt and not leave some space for the possibility of those conclusions being (at least partially) wrong.
FROM BILL: I’ll be willing to bet you ANYTHING that some version of what I’m describing IS going to happen. It’s ALREADY happening. Multiple things happen every day, and have been happening for quite a few years, that are predicted by Socionomy, and which (based on what I know about social mood) I predicted would happen–to my wife, my employees, and my friends.
Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t say to me, “You said this would happen three (or whatever) years ago” (regarding something in the news at the time: the debt crisis, the crises in Egypt, Libya, Tunesia, and other Middle Eastern countries, the situation with the public employee unions in Wisconsin, etc.)
This is not a “thing” I’m clinging to. It’s a pattern some very intelligent people have noticed, and which has been studied extensively and backed up with a massive amount of data. Understanding the wave-like nature of changes in social mood has great predictive ability. I’m watching before my eyes, day after day, the unfolding of what this pattern predicts, and I’m using it to predict what is likely to happen as time goes by.
A theory is as good as its predictive ability. This particular theory is incredibly prescient in that regard. Santiago, forgive me for saying this–you are my friend, and I like you–but you don’t know enough about this to comment on it intelligently. Educate yourself and then come back and discuss it with me (during the discussion of Part 1, Santiago did just that, to his credit).
No one can predict exactly what will happen (see my writings on chaos theory, including my recent 3-part post, Breaking Up is Hard to Do for more of an explanation of how these things are governed by probabilities, arranged in a bell curve). Certain things, however, tend to happen (i.e, are more probable) in times of increasingly positive social mood, and other things tend to happen in times of increasingly negative social mood.
The details of exactly what will happen, and how it will happen, are not predictable. Here, though, are a number of things this theory predicted in 2003 as being likely to happen. So far, they all have happened (I could give another list of things that are yet to happen, too. I use this list as partial proof of the predictive power of Socionomy).
The US stock market will lose 50% of its value (it did). Predictions, by the way, based on wave theory, are that it will ultimately lose 90%.
The economy will severely contract and the recovery will be weak. (yep.)
Many bonds will be downgraded (i.e., will be seen by the market as being much more risky). (yep.)
The federal government will place tariffs on steel imports. (yes)
Corporate leaders who were heroes and role models during good times will be vilified and scandals will bedevil the corporate world. (wow has this happened)
Horror movies will increase in number and popularity. Torture will routinely be depicted in movies and on television.
Violent sports such as “ultimate fighting” will increase in popularity. (it has)
Name calling and staunch partisanship will become staples of political commentary. (you might have noticed this)
The US Treasury’s budget surplus will turn into a huge deficit. (boy, has that happened)
Jobs will move out of the US to China, India, and elsewhere. (uh huh)
Religions will fight each other. Hostility will grow between Western countries and radical Muslims.
The US Constitution will be demonized or marginalized by some and staunchly defended by others, creating a highly contentious situation. Both patriotism and anti-government sentiment will grow into powerful emotional forces. (Progressives, Tea Party, etc)
Real estate values will fall (yep–and they aren’t finished)
Debt packages of mortgage backed bonds, credit card debt, or auto loans will become viewed as unworthy investments. (remember that this was predicted BEFORE the mortgage crisis)
Many, if not most, pension plans will fall in value and be unable to provide the promised benefits. (It’s happening right now, with a lot more to come—in fact, an avalanche).
Many banks will fail. (many did last year, many more will this year–largely unreported in the media—google Martin Weiss and start getting some of his free information, or subscribe to his newsletters)
The dollar will increasingly be looked upon as being unworthy for its role as the world’s reserve currency. (definitely happening)
The “rich” will be vilified and their property will be increasingly taxed and seized. (definitely happening)
Unemployment will become a serious problem. (the real unemployment rate is much higher than the government figures say it is)
Countries will adopt numerous trade restrictions, import taxes and other protectionist measures.
(definitely happening—by the way, this raises the price of everything you buy that comes from other countries to supposedly protect businesses in your country)
Consumer confidence will fall to record low levels. (in process of happening)
Affordable housing will become difficult to come by. Family members will increasingly move in with each other. (happening)
A Democrat will be the next US president. (this obviously happened)
Politics will become far more polarized, splintered, and radical. (you may have noticed this)
Social Security in its present form will fail. (Imminent and inevitable)
The US will require internal travel papers. (in the works)
The US will accelerate its tend toward socialism and centralized control. Opposition to that trend will be vigorous. (Exactly what is happening and will continue to happen.)
The Drug War will become more violent and will spill over into the US. (it has)
The US government will ration goods and services, such as gasoline, vaccines, medical care, electricity, water, food, etc. (Either already happening or in the works–plans in place)
The birth rate will fall in the US and other advanced Western countries. (happening)
Religions will become increasingly popular. Religious intolerance will increase.
Belief in magic will increase. (unfortunately, it has—when people can’t explain what is happening, they are more open to non-rational explanations, and more easily hoodwinked by charlatans)
Science will be turned to manipulative or malevolent purposes. (it has been—remember the Nazi medical experiments, or the Tuskegee syphilis experiments in the US, from previous times of negative social mood?)
Environmentalists will become militant and intentionally destructive. (yes)
The US space program will shut down. (no more space shuttle—last flight is happening now)
Conspiracy theories will become plentiful, and more people will believe them. (boy, oh boy, yes)
People will rate the future as increasingly less promising (they do, in every poll)
Race relations will become strained and violent (border problems?)
The suicide rate will go up. (it has)
Mass demonstrations expressing anger with certain social situations will occur (just turn on your TV)
Self help books will change from how to get rich and successful to how to deal with hard times (yes)
Food scares will hit the US (already happening, more to come)
Restaurants will decline in popularity. More people will eat at home. (yes)
Disney will close its NY city theater productions (they haven’t, yet, but they did close their animation division)
Gangsters, pirates, and other outlaws will become popular folk heroes (Pirates of the Caribbean? College pirate parties? Remember the popularity of John Dillinger in the 1930s? The modern-day equivalent is coming.)
Entertainment will feature fewer heroes and more anti-heroes.
Organized labor will grow and become more active and militant (public employee unions)
Believe me, I could go on (and on). Some of you may not be familiar with many of these things unless you follow the news closely and have alternative sources (many of these things are not reported in the mainsteam media). I follow all these areas very closely, and have watched these things unfold. These things are typical of what happens in times of increasingly negative social mood.
The following list contrasts attitudes, behaviors, and emotions in times of positive and negative social mood:
desiring power over nature/desiring power over people
embrace of effort/avoidance of effort
interest in love/interest in sex
practical thinking/magical thinking
search for joy/search for pleasure
helping others/harming others
Quite frankly, you’d have to be blind, have a certain agenda, or be intentionally averting your eyes and refusing to pay attention (which I understand, since paying attention to all this stuff IS depressing) to not see that all of this is, indeed unfolding.
I’m not saying this to predict the end of the world or to be negative, or to make you feel bad. I’m not a negative person. I’m a realistic person. If you know what is happening, you’ll be better able to deal with it.
Unfortunately, I think:
The economy is going to get worse. Much worse.
Most debts will never be repaid (which means the lender pays them). This includes public employee pensions, government and municipal bonds, social security, health care entitlements, mortgage debts, and a lot more.
The confidence necessary to cause those who have money to lend it to people or to institutions will plummet, with dire consequences for the economy.
Tensions between all kinds of groups will increase even more than they already have, particularly between Western countries and radical Muslims (who are poised to take over several Middle Eastern countries right now), but also between business and labor, the left and the right, rich and poor, different races, taxpayers and public “servants”, etc. etc.
Socialists and communists (and, probably, at some point, fascists) will gain more and more traction as people search for someone to lead them out of the chaos.
War will eventually come in many places around the world.
There will be severe energy problems—though not from real shortages of energy.
There will be increased violent terrorist attacks, including in the US.
There will be problems with the food supply in many parts of the world. Food riots are already happening in several countries.
There will be epidemics, and the medicines to treat them will be mismanaged and unavailable to many who need them.
There will be a further increase in authoritarianism and centralized, top-down control, and a huge loss of freedom of choice (regarding what you can buy, what you can say, what kind of food you can eat, what car you can drive, when you can use electricity, where you can freely go (across borders? Even to different states in the US?), what you can see online, what kind of entertainment is legal, etc). This one will particularly blindside (and enrage) Americans, who are not used to being regulated and controlled.
Barbaric actions will come to light that will rival (and probably exceed) the barbarism of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and other crazies from the past. (It has already come to light that the US has been shipping suspected terrorists to Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries where their secret police have tortured these prisoners. Worse things will come to light over the next several years.)
Many of these problems and the resulting chaos will be used by people selling utopian ideas to get people to follow them. Huge numbers of people, who are panicking about their situation and see no other choice, will easily be hoodwinked, and will follow these people. You might be one of them and not even know it until it’s too late. This is what happened in the 1930s and 1940s. We remember Hitler based on what we ultimately found out about him. In the beginning he (and Mussolini) were seen as practical problem-solvers.
This will not end well. It never has.
But there’s more. As I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a rather depressing topic. Next, in Part 3, I’ll share a post from someone who feels that way about it, and what I said to her.
As for comments about this post, I welcome them. However, please—don’t put words in my mouth and then argue against them. It’s so tiresome. If you have a reasonable question, or have some factual dispute, great. Please, however, learn something about this topic BEFORE ranting about it.
I just received this email, which you might find interesting if you’d like to know more about socionomics:
If you attend only one conference this year, this is the one!
The Socionomics Institute holds their first-ever Socionomics Summit in Atlanta on April 16. They’ve kept the registration fee as low as possible: $199 for a FULL day.
Join Robert Prechter, Mood Matters author John Casti, “Twitter mood predicts the stock market” authors Johan Bollen and Huina Mao, billion dollar hedge fund manager Scott Reamer, Minyanville sage Kevin Depew, EWI’s Peter Kendall — just to name a few!
Check out the complete speaker line-up below, or follow this link for full speaker bios and to learn more about this exciting event.
The Socionomics Institute
(click the player above to listen to this post)
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