What Could Be Scarier?

CounterPunch sitka at teleport.com
Mon Aug 2 11:03:32 PDT 1999

kirsten asks:

>[and a major argument against "socialized" medicine is quality of care?
>what could be scarier than this example of free market medicine?]

How about this...

Today's Lesson From The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior

by Robert L. Prechter

Why was the Hammer Films company of England able to release a series of fairly successful horror films in that country from 1957 through 1974? The reason is that, unlike the soaring American stock market, the London stock market was in a mild bear market from 1959 to 1966. After a brief two-year rise, it joined with gusto the American downtrend from 1968 to 1974, suffering a decline nearly as deep as that of 1929-32. Through the first half of the 70s, as stocks and mood collapsed their hardest, Hammer released vampire films at five times the rate it did in the 1960s. As soon as the British stock market turned powerfully up in 1975, demand for Hammer's output fell so abruptly that the company folded. Was that the end of a nearly perfect social-mood parrallelism? Perhaps not. Suddenly, after 23 years in which Hammer has languished as but a memory, advertising mogul Charles Saachi has purchased the name with the aim of transforming Hammer "from a debt-ridden relic into a global empire." Says an on-line site dedicated to vampires, "The future for Hammer looks promising for the first time in more than twenty years."

The correlation between bear markets and horror holds before the days of movies. For example, America's master horror writer Edgar Allen Poe flourished in the Supercycle degree bear market of 1835 to 1842, during which time, according to The World Book Encyclopedia, "he produced several of his finest tales." Poe died in 1847, "after five years of illness," five years that just happened to coincide with a rapid rise in social mood that began in 1842. That uptrend in public mood was not as well suited to his style, and the dissonance between them may have pressured his already weak constitution.

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