Here's What Is On Our Radar for 2020

 

The following is an excerpt from the January 2020 issue of The Socionomist


We asked ten top socionomists to tell us about what's on their radar for 2020. Here's how they responded.

 

Alyssa HaydenAlyssa Hayden -- Executive Director Emeritus, Socionomics Institute

I've got my eye on the rise of women around the globe. Women are acquiring more power, busting up boys' clubs and knocking down barriers in many nations, even in traditionally restrictive countries such as Saudi Arabia. International #MeToo movements continue to kindle. Negative social mood should add fuel to women's fire. When the mood trend turns, it will be prime time for women to make even more inroads in many industries.

 

Barry BrownsteinBarry Brownstein, PhD -- Professor Emeritus of Economics and Leadership, University of Baltimore

As I write, Business Insider has posted an essay demanding Whole Foods remove magazines containing "dangerous" advice contrary to "mainstream medical consensus." In 2020, I'll be observing if illiberal winds eager to repress speech grow stronger. Constitutional guarantees are only as strong as our belief in them. Government won't have to repress speech directly. Academics, students, Google, Twitter, Facebook and other media companies will do the heavy lifting. Continued erosion of liberties will reflect a deteriorating social mood. Fear imbues some people with a need to submit to authority and to compel others to do the same, while in others it imbues a need to fight back.

 

Brian WhitmerBrian Whitmer -- Editor, The European Financial Forecast

Political unrest in Europe should be an even bigger theme in 2020 than it was in 2019. Over the course of 2019, violent demonstrations erupted in almost every major city in western and eastern Europe. With mood in the region likely to grow more negative, political protests should become more divisive, more destructive and more dangerous for ordinary citizens. Moscow is particularly compelling as a hotspot, as Russia's long-term negative mood trend continues. The energy behind last summer's protests in Russia over political prisoners and fair elections has tapered off, but the renewed calm should prove to be temporary.

 

Chuck ThompsonChuck Thompson -- Senior Analyst, The Socionomist

I'm watching trends in technology, the desire to explore and weaponize space, environmental activism and the fear of nuclear war. I'm also monitoring extremism and authoritarianism in Venezuela, China, North Korea, Russia and Eastern Europe. Other topics on my radar include the Mexican drug war, small college closings and the demise of the great American shopping mall. In addition, I'm following trends in entertainment, the announcement of major building projects, changes in the art world, the incidence of dam failures in the U.S. and changing attitudes toward corporations.

 

Dennis ElamDennis Elam, PhD -- Associate Professor of Accounting, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

As a veteran of the West Texas oil business, I keep my eye on oil and natural gas. Energy lagged all sectors in 2019. Apple's market cap now exceeds that of all the energy stocks in the S&P 500 combined. Apple's cash cow is a mobile phone. A little more than a decade ago, Nokia was the big player in that market. How did that work out? Yet fund managers are herding into FANG stocks, chasing the trend as always, while oil and natural gas firms are so beat up that they're selling their equipment just to generate some cash. I'll be watching to see if the energy Rocky Balboas can get up off the mat and rise again.

 

Mark AlmandMark Almand -- Board Member, Socionomics Foundation

President Trump's fate is the obvious mood story of 2020. But there's so much else happening. Auto styling is mixing the angular and the rounded, just like you'd expect in a transitional phase. Take a look at the back of the 2020 Toyota Highlander for an example -- It's not quite finned, but almost. I'm also watching social engineering (check out our Nolan chart), separatism/nation-forming particularly in Europe, and expressions of man's dominance over nature in engineering and architecture.

 

Mark BattleMark Battle -- 2017 Socionomics Foundation Scholarship Recipient, University of Delaware

With social mood reaching a positive extreme, NASA is once again getting ambitious. In 2020, NASA plans to add to its robotic fleet on Mars and continue its preparations for a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, which scientists believe hosts a vast ocean beneath its icy shell. I expect NASA's ambitions will continue to be lofty as long as mood continues to wax positive. When the mood trend reverses, look for these plans to be scaled back if not shelved entirely as NASA focuses on endeavors closer to earth.

 

Mark GalasiewskiMark Galasiewski -- Editor, The Asian-Pacific Financial Forecast

The spontaneous protests that erupted in 2019 in many Asian and developing nations were a product of the negative mood behind sideways corrections in Asian and emerging market stocks. My outlook suggests that the mood in those markets will improve dramatically in 2020. As a result, the anger driving the protests should begin to dissipate and be replaced by a more agreeable social fabric -- or what most people think of as normalcy.

 

Murray GunnMurray Gunn -- Head of Global Research, Elliott Wave International

I will be interested in the future of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The prospect of its disintegration appears to be rising in probability. Another referendum on Scottish independence seems likely, and the result will depend heavily on the trend in social mood during 2020. I will also be watching whether the push for closer integration between Eurozone states will survive a probable stronger turn toward negative mood. 2020 could be an existential year for the euro currency. Finally, I'll be keeping an eye out for a change in attitude toward personal debt as the credit cycle turns negative.

 

Peter KendallPeter Kendall -- Co-Editor, The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast

The political environment will overshadow much else in 2020. We have shown the importance of the 23,377 level in the Dow Industrials with respect to the incumbent president's reelection chances; a decisive break in either direction will likely seal Trump's fate. The caveat, of course, is that the market's longer-term prospects are more definitively negative. If Trump wins a second term, he will eventually wish he had lost. At some point between now and 2024, the social mood trend will follow the Grand Supercycle degree script as laid out by R.N. Elliott in the 1940s and, more recently, by Robert Prechter. The decline will not be kind to whoever occupies the Oval Office.


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