How social mood moves the world

Why do share prices, skirt lengths, even the state of the European Union, fluctuate so wildly? It’s down to social mood, says John Casti, and we must heed its messages.

“No collective human activities or actions, such as globalisation or, for that matter, trends in popular culture such as fashions in films, books or haute couture, can be understood without recognising that it is how a group or population sees the future that shapes events. Feelings, not rational calculations, are what matter. To see what our world might be like tomorrow, next year or next decade, we need to spend time and money investigating “social mood”.

Put simply, the mood of a group – an institution, state, continent or even the world – is how that group, as a group, feels about the future.”

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One comment

  1. I had trouble appreciating this article’s significance. We make one sort of decision when times are good. We make another when times are not so good. This is a revelation?

    The pursuit of the Mood-o-meter seems quixotic, a chasing of a Philosopher’s Stone fit for our times: insights into why dramatic changes happen in the world, indicators of coming mood swings, suppose how to invest in risky situations, etc.

    None of this comes with any assurance or insurance that it will matter. If it didn’t stay that way, markets would collapse and all of us would spend all our time searching for The Singularity who will lead us to Nirvana.

    I am increasingly disposed to think that people keep up a patter, even repeating what’s been said or what needn’t be, in order to remain noticeable, visible, and loud enough to be heard over others.

    No wonder there are so many conferences held, books and speeches written and shared or delivered, and posting on the web:

    It’s a function of the will to survive and toward that end, to be noticed and not marginalized or forgotten.

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