Social Mood Conference | Socionomics Foundation
By Alan Hall | Excerpted from the March 2012 Socionomist

Originally published under the title, “The Education Industry is Traversing a Broad, Multi-Decade Social Mood Peak”

In this timely update of his February 2011 study, Alan Hall reports on the status of seven developments in higher education that reveal an advancing monumental transformation in the industry: The reversal of a century-long, upward trend in the popularity and cost of higher education. Five developments are on track with his previous forecasts, one is evolving, and the emergence of the last one surprised even him.  The following excerpt details a few of these developments.

1. The “Creative Destruction” of the Industry Has Begun

What We Said

Traditional educational institutions may eventually lose control of the manufacture and distribution of education much as the music and publishing industries lost their grip on music and text. Bear markets topple dominant players and open the field to nimbler entrepreneurs, who will develop alternatives to institutional education.1

What Has Happened Since

… Today’s technological breakthrough is the Internet, of course, which the July 1998 Theorist called “a massive engine for falling prices in countless businesses and professions.” Education is no exception. On March 4, 2012, The New York Times took note of the trend:

Welcome to the brave new world of Massive Open Online Courses — known as MOOCs — a tool for democratizing higher education. … in the past few months hundreds of thousands of motivated students around the world who lack access to elite universities have been embracing them … without paying tuition or collecting a college degree. And in what some see as a threat to traditional institutions, several of these courses now come with an informal credential….3

… 2. Education’s Image is Shifting

What We Said

“Society’s feelings about education shift in concert with social mood,” we wrote. We presented evidence that the public becomes critical of colleges and universities during negative trends in the social mood.

What Has Happened Since

Six months later, USA Today reported the results of a new study by the educators’ association Phi Delta Kappa International:

Since 2001, Americans have soured on schools in general: When 1,002 adults were asked June 4-13 to give a letter grade to “public schools in the nation as a whole,” only 17 percent gave them an A or B, down from 23 percent in 2001 and 27 percent in 1985.7


In the remainder of this six-page article, author Alan Hall examines five more trends in the education industry – surrounding academic performance, student debt, academic scandal, tuition prices, and “The College Sugar Daddy” – that point to the forthcoming collapse of the higher education business.

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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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