Archive for July, 2010

Polarities of Social Mood

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Background: Page 176 of MM shows the following table of polarities of social mood:

Positive Mood (+) Negative Mood (-)
Unifying Divisive
Liberating Restricting
Adventurous Protectionist
Togetherness Separation
Supportive Opposing
Open Closed
Happy Sad
Hard-Working Lazy
Manic Depressive
Tolerant Bigoted/xenophobic

The Fundamental Working Hypothesis stated on p. 170 is that there will be an accelerating shift from the positive to the negative polarities in this table. The Blog section adopts this hypothesis, and consists of micro reports from the media illustrating it in various aspects of everyday life.

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GE CEO Immelt Deplores “A Terrible National Mood”

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

At a dinner recently with top Italian executives in Rome, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt blasted the Chinese government saying they were hostile to foreign multinationals, and becoming increasingly protectionist. Immelt went on to say that GE was looking at other countries as potentially better bets for GE’s products. He declared that resource-rich countries don’t want to be “colonized by the Chinese. They want to develop themselves.”

In his remarks at the dinner, GE’s chief executive also launched some barbs at President Barack Obama, saying that there was a “terrible” national mood, stating “People are really in a bad mood [in the US]. We are a pathetic exporter.” Immelt claimed that  business didn’t like Obama and Obama didn’t like business, praising German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to defend German industry.

This diatribe about national mood, protectionist policies and the like is familiar ground for readers of Mood Matters, as it is exactly what one would expect to see in a period of increasingly negative social mood. In such times, the operative words describing the sorts of geopolitical and global economics events that one can expect to see are “separating”, “localizing”, “fragmenting” as opposed to their opposites “joining”, “globalizing” and “linking” that characterize times when a society is welcoming rather than fearing the future.

Chapters One and Four of Mood Matters discusses this point in the context of globalization. Additional evidence mounts as each day goes by. For example, in the recent primary elections in the U.S., a headline in the Washington Post states,  GOP’s Utah and Maine Conventions Show a Party Coming Unglued. The story then opens with the sentence, “Future historians tracing the crack up of the Republican Party may well look to May 8, 2010, as an inflection point.” Similar headlines from the primaries echo this fragmenting sentiment: If You Think the Center is Lonely Now, Just Wait (The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2010), Primaries from California to SC Measure Voter Anger (Associated Press, June 5, 2010), Confidence Waning in Obama (The Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2010).

These are all straws in the wind of a huge storm brewing that will ultimately change the face of the global, not just American, political landscape. And the driving force behind all of it is the progressive rolling over of the positive social mood that began in the mid-1970s to its negative counterpart that started around the year 2000, a process that has a long, long way to go

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