Social Mood Conference | Socionomics Foundation
By Chuck Thompson, originally published in the October 2011 Socionomist

Protectionism has appeared this year in the form of threats by multiple nations against one another. China is at the center of many of the disputes.

In June, China threatened an outright trade war with the European Union if the EU moves ahead with plans to include foreign airlines in its emissions limits.4 (In September, the International Air Transport Association, which represents more than 230 airlines, pressed the EU to postpone the emissions legislation until the airline industry has emerged from its downturn.5)

Solar energy has become a point of conflict between China and the U.S., where lawmakers and union leaders are asking the Obama administration to file unfair-trade complaints against China because of the way it subsidizes clean-energy companies. The request comes following the collapse of the U.S. solar company Solyndra LLC, which went dark despite $535 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Energy Department. Last year, China gave $30 billion in credit to its largest solar manufacturers—about 20 times the amount that manufacturers in the U.S. received. Thomas Conway, international vice president of the United Steelworkers, said the U.S. “should not sit back and say we are afraid to start a trade war.” He added, “We are in a trade war, and we are losing.”6

Poultry tariffs have become another bone of contention between China and the U.S. On September 20, the U.S. accused China of violating international trade rules when it imposed tariffs—ranging from 50 to 100 percent—on U.S. chicken exports. China imposed the tariffs last September on Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Keystone Foods and many smaller companies. The World Trade Organization says resolving the dispute may take up to 24 months.7

In the November 1992 issue of The Elliott Wave Theorist, Robert Prechter noted that depressions make trade wars “as inevitable as they are suicidal. … Depressions force regions of allegiance to contract, and trade war is one of the typical results.”8


4Milmo, D., & Harvey, F. (2011, June 6). China threatens trade war over EU emissions trading scheme. The Guardian, Retrieved from

5So, C. (2011, September 21). Airlines seek to delay emissions trading scheme. South China Morning Post, Retrieved from–delay-emissions–trading-scheme.

6McQuillen, W. (2011, September 23). Blame-China chorus grows as Solyndra falls amid imports. Bloomberg, Retrieved from

7Rugaber, C.S. (2011, September 20). US files complaint against Chinese chicken tariffs. The Miami Herald, Retrieved from

8Prechter, R. (1992, November). Cultural trends: protectionism. The Elliott Wave Theorist.

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.

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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.

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