Friday, July 21, 2006

Socionomics and the Enron Scandal

Right after my posting of the 1952 cartoon, B. C. emailed me the following video that is a documentary on Socionomics and even has Finance Professor John Nofsinger in it speaking about Enron and other scandals!

What is socionomics?

"Socionomics is a new theory of social causality that offers fresh insights into collective human behavior. Over twenty years of empirical research demonstrates that social actions are not causal to changes in social mood, but rather changes in social mood motivate changes in social action."

For instance, rather than suggesting that a rising economy (or stock market) makes people happy, this takes the related, but reversed, view that the economy improves because people are happy.

While I do not want to argue the theory (for or against), Nofsinger makes an interesting point by saying that Enron and other scandals may have come when they did (after the tech bubble burst etc), not because of the scandals being worse, but because people were upset and hence "looking for trouble."

Sort of a chicken or the egg argument that has many finance and economic implications (not least of which might be a predictable component in stock markets--for instance this builds upon the Elliot Wave Theory that was mentioned via Fibonacci sequences in the DaVinci Code.).

Here is the description from video:
" The Enron and Martha Stewart scandals made headlines at about the same time. It wasn't just coincidence. This four minute clip about socionomics from History's Hidden Engine explains why some scandals make news when they do, while others go unnoticed."

I have to admit it is a thought provoking idea and it does fit some scenarios, but I am not yet willing to buy into it, although I may buy the book.


Ali said...

The authors of "The Elliott Wave Principle" A.J. Frost and Robert Prechter have also talked about this:
"Many areas of mass human activity display the wave principle, but it is most popularly applied to the stock market....The level of aggregate stock prices is a direct and immediate measure of the popular valuation of man's total productive capability. That this valuation has a form is a fact that will ultimately revolutionise the social sciences."

Anonymous said...

This is all just Jungian psychology. Jung fathered the notion of the collective unconscious and the archetype.