By Robert Folsom | November 26, 2012
Some expressions of social mood can be subtle (the appeal of nostalgia) or even obscure (the structure of poetry). But my topic here is a social mood marker that’s as unsubtle and conspicuous as they come: The skyscraper indicator.
Here’s Bob Prechter’s explanation from Conquer the Crash:
The impulse to build shows up in the construction of record-breaking skyscraper buildings at social-mood peaks.
There’s no need to add to that description — it’s as straightforward as a skyscraper is tall. Yet the truly interesting part of the story is in the “when” of the best-known examples.
The Chrysler Building – Construction began in 1928; opened in 1930.
The Empire State Building – Initial work began in 1929; opened in 1931.
The World Trade Center – Construction began in 1966; Towers 1 and 2 opened in 1973.
The Sears (Willis) Tower – Construction began in 1970; opened in 1973.
Burj Dubai – Construction began in 2004; opened in 2009.
Now, if you recall the long-term stock index peaks/bear markets of the past 90 years, you’ve probably already deduced what each of these skyscrapers have in common: They began at or near a major market peak, and opened after the trend had turned southward.
Which is the say: The impulse to build these record-breaking skyscrapers showed up at social mood peaks.
Perhaps you also know that the Burj Dubai remains the World’s Tallest Skyscraper…
…Though that may change as soon as the spring of 2013.
China Plans to Build the World’s Largest Skyscraper in Just 90 Days
That headline refers to “Sky City,” and if 90 days sounds like a head turner, so are many other claims about the project: 220 stories rising to 2,749 feet, inside of which will be “a school, hospital, 17 helipads and apartments for 30,000 people…”
The prefabricated building components that supposedly make the 90-day schedule possible are already being churned out, which is to say that the Sky City project is already actively under way. As for how this epic skyscraper’s “when” will compare with the list above, well, we know that the stock market rallied for some four years beginning in 2008.
Where will the market be when (and if) Sky City opens? Stay tuned.
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Andrea Dibben contributes research.