On socionomics – economic psychology

07Oct04

What Stylish Young Women Are Wearing

No, this is not the sequel to Bertram Wooster’s ‘What the well-dressed man is wearing’.

Further discussion on the age-old hypothesis that the length of hemlines is connected to prevalent social and economic moods… The economics and anthropology of the bare midriff – insights into the midriff and hemline from the perspective of economics and social psychology.

Stock broker Ralph Rotnem observed, rather casually, that the long-term trends of stock prices and of the hemlines on women’s skirts appear to be in concert. Skirt heights rose to mini-skirt brevity in the 1920s and in the 1960s, peaking with stock prices both times. Floor-length fashions appeared in the 1930s and 1970s (the Maxi), bottoming with stock prices. This is not likely a frivolous observation. In my judgment, it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that a rise in both hemlines and stock prices reflects a general increase in friskiness and daring among the population, and a decline in both, a decrease. Because skirt lengths have limits (the floor and the upper thigh, respectively), the reaching of a limit would imply that a maximum of positive or negative mood had been achieved. – Robert R. Prechter, Jr., Pioneering Studies in Socionomics

The Socionomics Institute is a delightful site I recently stumbled upon. Socionomics is a strong acknowledgement of the overlap of different social sciences as anthropology, economics, culture studies and psychology – an argument for acknowledging the other stream and working together…

Variously called economic psychology or behavioural economics, socionomics examines and forecasts market and social trends on the basis that the character of social, political, cultural, financial and economic trends are the product of collective human psychology. In simple words, social events do not compel social mood, as is widely supposed; rather, the patterns of social mood impel social events.

A study of the rise – reflecting the social angst of the times – unemployment, disillusionment with the system, frustrated youth – and subsequent fall of the angry young man – giving way to the more conventional, orthodox ‘chocolate’ hero is an interesting case in point in India…

Think of any more?

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