Sunday, November 30, 2008

December 2008 – We May Never Pass This Way Again

Below is an except from this month's MoodCompass:
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On November 19 the global context was forecasted to shift from tension that “resolved into action” and in the US the social mood to a “chaos configuration.” This brought three days of severe stock market declines as uncertainty grew around the fate of the U.S. automakers. Following that there was an incredible, although nonsensical market rally, another expression of Mania. Global society continued to express the elevated volatility with civil unrest in Thailand closing two major airports, and terror attacks in Mumbai, India. In the U.S. the response was less dramatic, but no less fatal, as a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by a manic rush of shoppers, and two men shot each other as their wives argued in a Toys R Us store.

Fatigued by the seemingly endless months of negative forecasts, and with a potential view of “light at the end of the tunnel” as November drew to a close, it was mentioned in last month’s issue that December could hold a moment of relative stability. Unfortunately, this was premature. By the middle of the first week of the month, economic concerns should be accelerating once again as that “chaos configuration” makes another sweep. By the end of the second week, global tensions escalate and the U.S. government appears to go from paralysis to panic mode. While things may become a bit quiet (or stagnant) just before Christmas, on Christmas day or immediately thereafter the U.S. mood shifts to “safety seeking,” global markets decline, and there is a strong surge of interest in potential geopolitical threats. Anyone traveling for the holidays should pay close attention to the development of the global situation as well as any alerts issued by Homeland Security.

As the year comes to a close, one might look back at a year of tremendous change to this country and to the world. The levels of consumption that were taken for granted, especially in developed nations, have been sharply curtailed and continue to decline. In 2007, it was a foregone conclusion that another Great Depression couldn’t possibly happen. Today that possibility is a common topic of conversation. Whatever the outcome of the dramatic transformation we are witnessing, we can be sure that at the very least, the human world will never be the same as it was before this year began. As we said in January, this indeed was the “Year That Changes Everything.”
- - - (current issue viewable by subscription only; reprinted with permission of A New Story Foundation)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November 2008 – Post Election Chaos

My introductory comments last month were a bit premature. They belong better with this month. I sometimes think about everything so much that I get ahead of myself.

This month could get quite disturbing for those of us living in the United States. The purpose of this month's MoodCompass excerpt could be considered an emotional preparation. In these difficult times I sometimes take comfort in knowing that large changes are coming ahead of time. That way when they do come, I can say, "Oh, it's that" instead of being completely surprised. Watching the patterns of mood cycles as I do, it helps me see order in the universe in spite of appearances to the contrary. While not always pleasant or preferred, things are unfolding "as they should." When things get crazy economically, politcally, or socially, sometimes the best we can do is try to surround ourselves with supportive people and remind ourselves of what is most important. This may be one of those months. Keep a cool head and stay centered. Stay connected with supportive others.

Below is an except from this month's MoodCompass:

Last month, as was indicated, the fragility of the global economy was of high concern and world leaders actively attended to keeping the system running. While one of our “big picture” indicators showed an extremely low probability of geopolitical escalation (October issue, page 11), there was a strong indication of “external focus” by U.S. society. We did see large anti-U.S. demonstrations in Iraq and attacks by U.S. troops across the border in Syria and Pakistan. However, these did not grab America’s attention. Interestingly, a similar mood configuration for U.S. society appeared near the two political conventions last spring. Apparently, the usual signals for an external or international focus (the “warrior” configuration), also show up when polarized factions “battle” for an election within a country, even when peaceful and democratic.

In November, the focus returns to the United States as the world closely watches our presidential election hoping for a better future for all. Whatever the outcome of the election, there is a most curious shift that occurs in all of our charts immediately afterwards that builds to an extreme the following week. Perhaps there is a “snag” in the election results, or perhaps the election goes fine and there are new economic issues to deal with which return to the foreground once the honeymoon period of having elected a new president is over with. Without a context, such extremes are difficult to interpret.

After the election, the U.S. social mood shifts to what could be either anger or excitement (or both). The following week this turns to high anxiety, and the week of the 17th to an extreme Manic configuration which would indicate chaos and confusion. The U.S. government’s configuration is one with extreme preoccupation with keeping order the entire month beginning immediately after the election and peaking near the 14th. Be watching the news for a build up of tension and anxiety in this country and for more information on the specific context as to how this will be expressed. Pay particular attention near the 19th of the month when the tension resolves itself into the chaos configuration for U.S. society. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations that is so out of the ordinary that it is impossible to be more specific. Staying informed is your best bet.

As for the markets, look for serious declines in the stock market beginning within days after the election. There should be strong gains in crude oil and gasoline prices through the 14th as the Dollar declines sharply. Following that, deflation is back in the foreground with losses across the board in both stocks and commodities. The bright side is that December may bring a moment of relative stability.

- - - (current issue viewable by subscription only; reprinted with permission of A New Story Foundation)