Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wall St to Hollywood to Sports, American Icons Falling from Grace

Photo: Lebron James & Warren Buffet

Americans Fed Up With Their Athletes And Rejecting Wall Street
by Keegan Bales
Yahoo News

Over the past year, the public images of Tiger Woods and LeBron James, who are not only professional athletes but lucrative brands, have been irrevocably tarnished. Likewise, Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs, which were once revered, were helped by government bailouts, their ethics called into question.

Todd Harrison, founder and CEO of Minyanville, tells Tech Ticker that the perception of the American icon, particularly in the sports world, crumbled with the stock market. He says that the recession and society's recent cynicism toward athletes and bankers are connected.


Harrison's argument is based on socionomics, a theory by Robert Prechter, a prominent stock market analyst and occasional guest on Tech Ticker. Prechter hypothesized that social mood drives economic and political activity, not the other way around as commonly believed.

According to socionomics, a person's decision making process is influenced by what is happening in their environment and their choices impact the market. He would say that the stock market crash did not cause the recession, rather the recession caused the stock market crash. Furthermore, it was an overall change in public attitude, a rise of pessimism and distrust in public figures, which sank the economy.

Americans Fed Up With Their Athletes

Sports traditionally provided Americans with an escape from turmoil going on in the country, something relaxing to watch for a couple hours. Harrison says that in today's tense social and political climate, the lurid scandals and massive pay checks that have become standard in professional sports are no longer acceptable. People are fed up with athletes and are rejecting their wealth.

"When you have these high profile brands like these athletes, that are going out there and grand standing for a $100 million contracts, it's going to rub people the wrong way," Harrison says.

Rejecting Wall Street in an Age of Austerity

The social mood is similarly negative toward bankers. Once considered to be at the pinnacle of society, they are now regarded as reckless, greedy and sometimes criminal. Warren Buffett, who was for years considered the patriarch of finance, has even come under question for his close relationship with Goldman Sachs and Moody's. Harrison says that this shift is part of a movement toward austerity.

"Money can buy a lot of things, but it can't buy public opinion," Harrison says. "Free will is going to be free will. That's endemic of a much larger shift for the economic social movement."

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