Social Mood Conference | Socionomics Foundation
By Euan Wilson | Excerpted from the September 2009 Socionomist

Originally published under the title “Roads and Recessions: A Socionomic Analysis of Cars and Travel”


[Ed: In this fascinating article, socionomist Euan Wilson reveals that even something as seemingly  mundane as the habits of auto drivers are driven by social mood. Speed limits, auto design and traffic fatality levels all vary drastically depending on a negative or positive trend in social mood. Here is an excerpt of Wilson’s September 2009 article.]

In January 2007, The Elliott Wave Theorist featured Mark Galasiewski’s essay, “Aircraft Accidents.” It offered evidence that airplane crashes are more likely in bear markets.

The idea is that it takes a team to safely operate a commercial airplane. Success requires cooperation among air traffic controllers, baggage handlers, ground mechanics, the pilot and co-pilot, passengers, flight attendants, and other craft in the air. But in times of falling mood, people become more self-absorbed, suspicious and insular. People lean away from teamwork and want to go it alone. Embrace of effort gives way to avoidance of effort (The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior (1999))… .

We then wondered: Does mood affect road safety in the same way?

The answer surprised us: In contrast to flying in a bear market, driving in a bear market is safer than in a bull market. Traffic deaths actually decrease during falling social mood.. Whether the decline comes from fewer cars on the road or more cautious drivers, we cannot conclusively say. Whatever the cause, falls in social mood produce safer roads.

Figure 1

Total miles driven and auto deaths both drop in recessions. But deaths per mile driven also fall in bear markets..

Even the boom decades of the 1950s and 1960s saw small drops in traffic deaths during pullbacks in the DJIA. The temporary drops came during a time that, at a larger degree, saw the biggest overall rise in traffic fatalities since the 1920s.

Further, the bearish mood of the early-to-mid 1970s saw the largest drop in auto deaths since World War II. And the depressed mood of 1987 through 1991 accompanied a big decline in auto deaths even in the midst of the 1980s and 1990s bull market.

More recently, traffic deaths and total miles driven per capita have fallen dramatically since 2005. The year-to-year drop in 2008 was the biggest nominal fall ever, the same year of the stock market’s largest ever year-to-year decline. Annual auto fatalities since 2005 have fallen a staggering 14 percent, which mirrors the decline in home values. …


In the remainder of this four-page article, learn why states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee are introducing new crackdowns on dangerous drivers. Discover how automakers are improving their odds of success in this bear market by changing their cars’ engine powers, fuel efficiencies, and styles, and why sales of one car in particular are the fastest growing in the country.

Want more content like this?

The Socionomist is the only monthly publication that offers you practical insights on the relationship between social mood, financial markets and cultural trends. Each issue warns you about big societal changes before they can harm you and reveals breakthrough opportunities emerging from trends in society.

Learn more about The Socionomist now.

(Socionomics Members: Log in for the full article and your complete, exclusive archive.)

Socionomics InstituteThe Socionomist is a monthly online magazine designed to help readers see and capitalize on the waves of social mood that contantly occur throughout the world. It is published by the Socionomics Institute, Robert R. Prechter, president; Matt Lampert, editor-in-chief; Alyssa Hayden, editor; Alan Hall and Chuck Thompson, staff writers; Dave Allman and Pete Kendall, editorial direction; Chuck Thompson, production; Ben Hall, proofreader.

For subscription matters, contact Customer Care: Call 770-536-0309 (internationally) or 800-336-1618 (within the U.S.). Or email

We are always interested in guest submissions. Please email manuscripts and proposals to Chuck Thompson via Mailing address: P.O. Box 1618, Gainesville, Georgia, 30503, U.S.A. Phone 770-536-0309. Please consult the submission guidelines located at

For our latest offerings: Visit our website,, listing BOOKS, DVDs and more.

Correspondence is welcome, but volume of mail often precludes a reply. Whether it is a general inquiry, socionomics commentary or a research idea, you can email us at

Most economists, historians and sociologists presume that events determine society’s mood. But socionomics hypothesizes the opposite: that social mood regulates the character of social events. The events of history—such as investment booms and busts, political events, macroeconomic trends and even peace and war—are the products of a naturally occurring pattern of social-mood fluctuation. Such events, therefore, are not randomly distributed, as is commonly believed, but are in fact probabilistically predictable. Socionomics also posits that the stock market is the best available meter of a society’s aggregate mood, that news is irrelevant to social mood, and that financial and economic decision-making are fundamentally different in that financial decisions are motivated by the herding impulse while economic choices are guided by supply and demand. For more information about socionomic theory, see (1) the text, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior © 1999, by Robert Prechter; (2) the introductory documentary History's Hidden Engine; (3) the video Toward a New Science of Social Prediction, Prechter’s 2004 speech before the London School of Economics in which he presents evidence to support his socionomic hypothesis; and (4) the Socionomics Institute’s website, At no time will the Socionomics Institute make specific recommendations about a course of action for any specific person, and at no time may a reader, caller or viewer be justified in inferring that any such advice is intended.

All contents copyright © 2023 Socionomics Institute. All rights reserved. Feel free to quote, cite or review, giving full credit. Typos and other such errors may be corrected after initial posting.