Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bellah 3: The birth of god

When did god arrive? Turns out, that's not such a hard question.

One would think that the historical moment of our discovery of god as the eternal and creative being of the universe would be a little hard to pin down. In our hearts, we always knew he (she? it?) was there, pulling the strings, blowing the winds around, and separating the wheat from the chaff after death. Right?

But while primitive societies know of "powers" responsible for each of the mystifying aspects of their lives, they do not as a rule make of these powers a well-worked out hierarchical pantheon, let alone unify them into the kind of mind-blowing monotheism that became so popular in later societies. Robert Bellah, in his wonderful book "Religion in human evolution" devotes quite a bit of time to characterizing such non-systems:
"Aboriginal Australia has been cited, notably by Mercea Eliade, following Pater Schmidt, as an important case of Urmonotheismus, primeval monotheism, because of the 'High Gods', or 'Sky Gods' to be found there. But among the central desert peoples that I have focused on [because of their relatively low contact with missionaries and Western culture] there are no High Gods, indeed no gods at all. The Ancestral Beings, like the powerful beings of the Kalapalo, are not worshipped, but identified with in ritual enactment. It was the absence of gods, worship, and even prayer, that led early Western observers to declare that the Aborigines had no religion at all, thus missing entirely the rich web of belief and practice that in fact characterize Aboriginal life. So where are these High Gods, this primeval monotheism?"

After which Bellah launches into a discussion of how contact with the religious concepts of Westerners as well as the attendant existential catastrophes, prompted a kind of desperate millenialism, similar to the incredibly sad ghost dancing of Native Americans, which involved some worship, prophetic relationship with god, moral prescriptions, etc.

Turning to native American religions, specifically the Navajo, Bellah adds:
"Several writers have attempted to reconstruct the hunter-gatherer religion of the early Apacheans by looking for comparative material among the Northern Athabascans and the groups through whose territory the Southern Athabascans must have passed before reaching the Southwest [becoming the Navajo]. Luckert posits the idea of a 'prehuman flux' as a kind of baseline for hunter beliefs, not only in North America, but perhaps everywhere. By this term he points to a 'time' when all things were interchangeable; not only powerful beings, humans, animals, but insects, plants, and features of the natural environment such as mountains, were all 'alive', and could take the form of one another. Eventually some of the powerful beings shaped the earth and separated the 'peoples' (including animals, plants, mountains, and so on) into their present forms. However the primordial flux is not really in the past, but can be returned to through ritual and the trance states that accompany ritual."

Clearly the garden of Eden story is a faint flicker of this conception in the Judeo-Christian tradition, turned into a jeremiad of sin & misogyny, and then succeeded by countless other mythical developments. But native versions express an egalitarianism and direct participation- religious democracy, one might say- that reflects their cultural setting and practices.

But then agriculture appears, bringing the possibility of wealth accumulation, settlement and the impossibility of escape from the group, magnified levels of status, intensified warfare, and the state.

In a discussion of pre-contact Hawaii, with its transition from a kinship/tribal system to a primitive state system run by a king with so much power that human sacrifice was part of the menu, Bellah notes that this is where gods are (or more specifically, God is) born.

"If we think of Hawai'i, the distinction between the ali'i and the commoners is just such a clear class distinction. Another way of making the same point without focusing quite so centrally on class is to say that the key distinction is between the state as a secondary formation and the rest of society. That this is close to what Trigger means is clear when he writes, 'wealth tended to be derived from political power far more frequently than political power was derived from wealth.' So it is not class as defined in terms of relation to the means of production that is critical in these societies, but class as defined in relation to political power. 
Also important for Trigger is the point the kinship, although remaining significant in different ways for both the rulers and the ruled, no longer, as in tribal and chiefdom societies, is the 'basic principle governing social relations.' He adds one further point of great importance: 'Just as class has replaced real and metaphorical kinship as a basis for organizing society, so religious concepts replaced kinship as a medium for social and political discourse.' Of course, symbolic action and expression that can be called religious appear at every level of social organization, but something new on the religious realm appears in archaic societies: gods and the worship of gods. My reading of Trigger's study reinforces my sense that what makes archaic society different from its predecessors is a complex religio-political transformation that gives rise to two ideas that are essentially new in the world: kingship and divinity, in many ways two parts of a single whole."

In another section, he discusses this transition from tribal to state organization in more detail:

"I have referred to the despotic founders of early states, who came to power through blood and terror as they almost always did, as upstarts of the kind that tribal society usually managed to repress. As opposed to Girard's theory, it would seem that the first killing among culturally organized humans was not the killing of scapegoat, but the killing of an upstart who genuinely threatened to revive the despotism of the old primate alpha male. We have argued that hunter-gatherer egalitarianism is not the abandonment of dominance, but a new form of it, the dominance of all against each other. effective dominance, however, brings on not only submission but resentment, and a desire to resist dominance. That is why upstarts wishing to re-create despotism can be found in every society. We do not ned to go to sociobiology for an understanding of upstarts: modern philosophy has had more than a little to say about this human proclivity. Hobbes spoke of the 'desire to be foremost,' Hegel of the fundamental human dialectic of 'master and slave,' Nietzsche of the 'will to power.'
The warrior band, however, can turn out to be a self-defeating project if all it does is stimulate the creation of other warrior bands leading to an ever escalating increase in violence (a real possibility- the 'nightmare of history' of which James Joyce spoke). Chiefdoms are notoriously ephemeral, but early states are also quite fragile. It is only when a successful warrior can fashion a new form of authority, of legitimate hierarchy, that he can break the cycle of violence and hope for lasting rule, perhaps one to be inherited by offspring. But this involves a new relation between gods and humans, a new way of organizing society, one that finds a significant place for the disposition to nurture as well as the disposition to dominate. This is the task that archaic religion and societies have to complete if they are to be even briefly successful. In doing so they elaborate a vast hierarchical conception of the cosmos in which the divine, the natural, and the human are integrated."

and ...
"Both tribal and archaic religions are 'cosmological,' in that supernature, nature, and society were all fused into a single cosmos. The early state greatly extended the understanding of the cosmos in time and space, but, as Thorkild Jacobsen argued, the cosmos was still viewed as a state- the homology between sociopolitical reality and religious reality was unbroken. As we have seen the establishment of the early state and the beginning of archaic society destroyed the uneasy egalitarianism of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years of hominin evolution, but in so doing made possible much larger and more complex societies. A dramatic symbolism that combined dominance and nurturance produced a new sense of divine power combined with social power, enacted in entirely new forms of ritual, involving, centrally, sacrifice- even human sacrifice- as a concrete expression of radical status difference."

So religion appears to be the metaphorical and archetypal expression of the gestalt people find themselves in, projecting their society into their cosmos, rather than the reverse, let alone studying the cosmos on its own terms. If the society has an omnipowerful god, so does the religion. If the society is an egalitarian community of interdependent family and tribal units, so are the beings and gods of their imagination. Bellah also goes through the experience of Israel, where the whole Moses story was cooked up out of whole cloth, as a nostalgic reflection on the Davidic state, probably during exile in that other great state of Babylon / Assyria.

Does this give religious people pause? Probably not. Every religion posits as it first rule that it is correct, and if it recognizes antecedent forms and doctrines at all, poses as the final, correct, and inerrant culmination of a, let us say pseudo-scientific process of discovery / revelation by which its prophets gained the current dispensation.

But, not to put to fine a point on it, that view is precisely backward. It is social setting and ideology that calls forth the religious metaphor, however earnestly elaborated in vast scriptures and schools of theology. For all the standard religions, which use a corpus of myth to intimate a reality with which we are now far more familiar by scientific means, the whole story, including god, is logically, if not artistically, dead. The myth, as discussed in the last post, may remain a sagging sociological artifact, but its many claims to be "true" about "reality" in some critical way that endows its community and especially its priests with mystical knowledge, including powers of healing, historical insight, prophecy and salvation ... well, that couldn't be more absurd, beyond a bit of psychological acuity and placebo effect.

But it wasn't the pointy-headed attacks of the philologists, historians, and scientists that did it in. No, that was only part of a larger social retreat during the enlightenment from state-centered kingship and totalitarianism, towards a utilitarian, domesticated state, that slowly strangled the monotheistic god. Communism was a fascinating detour on this road, installing mundane despotism while denying its celestial equivalent- not a very successful experiment! It has been a long road from terrestrial democracy to democracy in the sky, but we are slowly getting there, whether through the pathetic watering-down of Christian dogma (goodbye hell!), or through the simple exodus of apathetic unbelievers.

And what does the future hold for religious ideology, now that totalitarian kingship is going out of style and with it, the monotheisms of totalitarian kingship? Tune in next week!

  • A few problems with Islam, when one loves too much. But then some help, too.
  • Outstanding interview with far-North anthropologist Jean Briggs.
  • Inequality increases relentlessly.
  • Economic growth is doomed- we have picked all the low-hanging fruit, at least until the robots take over. On the other hand, perhaps we should better tend to ecological catastrophe than worry about a few points of growth here or there.
  • Some serious problems with Obamacare.
  • Fraught identities of immigrants.
  • There is no tech worker shortage.
  • Reality as a religious identity.
  • Bitcoin- the perils of an inelastic currency.
  • The curious case of Japan, heading for resolution?
  • Economics quote of the week, from Paul Krugman:
"And this makes one wonder how much difference the intellectual collapse of the austerian position will actually make. To the extent that we have policy of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent, won’t we just see new justifications for the same old policies?"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bellah 2: What is a true myth?

Myths are metaphors for what we don't know. Their truth is expressive, not analytical.

Robert Bellah's wonderful book on Religion in Human Evolution has an overarching schema, which is that humans progress (or at least move over evolutionary and cultural time) from a mimetic (ritual) mode of social existence, to a mythic mode, to an abstract, theoretical mode of social development. None of these is lost, but new modes are added onto the prior ones. Thus we enact rituals in our daily lives and in our most meaningful events at the same time that we find meaning in various myths- religious, civic, professional, or familial, etc., at the same time that we in the modern age are obsessed with the analytical quest to find the optimal economic system, the most just state structure, and the most fulfilling personal life.

Being human turns into a rather confusing project, richly deserving all the perplexed attention that the arts have devoted to it.

It is one reason why telecommuting and online education are not as popular as one would have thought at the dawn of the internet age- that face-to-face ritual remains very important to most people, and while we can not always articulate what it is about physical interaction and enactments that is so important, doing without them feels quite empty to many people.

And likewise- following last week's blog on the functional continuity of religious practice in the most unlikely settings of science and atheism- with myth, which continues to shape our lives even in this secular, post-modern age. An example is American exceptionalism- the conviction that we, for some obscure reason having to do with boundless frontiers, liberal / enlightenment founders, and ethnic mixture, have some god-given right or duty to tell the rest of the world how to do things. It couldn't just be that we are more powerful than they are, due to pretty much unrepeatable cultural pathways of economic and technological development. No, we are better people, more good and moral, whom others should recognize as their natural superiors. Or something like that.

All this is buttressed by our various civic cults and stories. However vociferously those pesky lefty historians try to tear down our forebears and tell the stories of those who were oppressed, we are going to just keep on flying that flag anyhow. Even the stars and bars, if it comes right down to it, dagnabbit.

So, as Bellah maintains, myths are not about truth. They tell a story that functions in forming our various emotional and cognitive archetypes into a well-peopled narrative that says who and why we are. They metaphorically represent our position in the world:

"Chaisson would have avoided this error had he been clear about this: myth is not science. Myth can be true, but it is a different kind of truth from the truth of science and must be judged by different criteria, and the myth he tells, [the modern scientific story of the cosmos with a positive inflection, which Chaisson terms a true myth], though it draws on science, is not science, and so cannot claim scientific truth. I would agree that the myths told by the ancient Israelite prophets, by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, by Confucius and Mencius, and by the Buddha, just to stay within the purview of this book, are all true myths. They overlap with each other and with Chaisson's myth, but even in their conflicts, which are sometimes serious, they are all worthy of belief, and I find it possible to believe in all of them in rather deep but not exclusive ways."

and ...
"To put it bluntly, there is a deep human need- based on 200 million years of the necessity of parental care for survival and at least 250,000 years of very extended adult protection and care of children, so that, among other things, those children can spend a lot of time in play- to think of the universe, to see the largest world one is capable of imagining, as personal."

and ...
"The Kalapalo [natives of Brazil] use the very recurrence of mythic time as a subtle way of understanding their reality. What happened "in the beginning" can always happen. Strange behavior on the part of an individual can be likened to some action of a powerful being in a myth, and is so interpreted. An eclipse of the sun or moon recalls stories in which the sun or moon are "being killed", but also reassures in that in the stories they do not die, but return to their normal state. Basso argues that Kalapalo myth is not a kind of "charter", as Malinowski thought, that provides a model or rule to be followed. Instead myth is an account of the way things are, a reference frame for understanding the world. She points out that Westerners, even anthropologists, are used to explanations that take a didactic, logical, or evidentiary form, and so think of mythic "explanation" as irrational, failing to note the subtle and complex uses to which narrative thinking can be put. We will see that this condescending attitude toward mythic explanation is typical of the theoretic mind, which is at best incipient among the Kalapalo."

and most interesting of all ...
"If we compare [Polynesian] Tikopia beliefs as expressed in ritual and myth with those of the groups we described in Chapter 3, we will see some significant differences. Powerful beings among the Kalapolo, Australian Aborigines, and Navajo were often, though not always, alpha male figures, who could be terribly destructive when crossed, even inadvertently, but with whom people could identify if they followed the proper ritual, and through identification, their power could become, at least temporarily, benign. Some powerful beings were viewed largely as nurturant mothers, as in the case of Changing Woman, but this is hardly the norm in tribal mythology. If the myths do describe a moral order, a Law, as the Aborigines put it, it is not because powerful being are always reliable or even moral. The myths are an effort to understand the nature of reality. Their narrators must use the analogies that lie at hand, analogies from their own social experience, with all its inner tensions and inconsistencies."

So, there we are. Myth uses the metaphors and heavily social cognitive apparatus which is at hand to describe in a very impressionistic way the reality that a culture finds itself in, especially the inferred powers that lurk beneath the surface and above in the heavens. Just as contemporary folk philosophers ("truthers") see malign conspiracies behind every adverse event, our forebears rarely wavered from the conviction that "something", or more likely "someone", was behind every phenomenon, good or bad.

Myth describes our psychological contents far more than it does the external world. It is like hearing a 3-year old describe some complex topic like where babies come from, or what the sun is. You will learn far more about the child than about what is being described. Which is not to say their description is not "true", but that depends on what truth you are looking for.

  • Pagan ritualist photoblog.
  • Hell tourism.
  • Reinhart and Rogoff- not only theoretically wrong, but using bad data.
  • The long term unemployed are hosed. But who cares?
  • The regulators could hardly care less about foreclosure fraud.
  • Our unfair tax system and faith in democracy- Stiglitz.
  • Brains at work.. criticizing the brain initiative.
  • E-readers- not so great, yet.
  • When to cancel debts, and whose debts to cancel.
  • Economic quote of the week: Krugman on the fatally and lazily misleading language of editorialists and pundits, with regard to government debt and the R&R scandal.
"Yet the VSPs not only grabbed hold of the alleged result, they wrote again and again as if this highly disputed claim was a known fact. Thus just a few months ago the Washington Post, attacking those who wanted to reduce the focus on deficits, wrote,
'If [debt projections are] even slightly off, debt-to-GDP could keep rising — and stick dangerously near the 90 percent mark that economists regard as a threat to sustainable economic growth.'
Not “some economists”, let alone “some economists who have been sharply criticized by other economists with equally good credentials”, but “economists”. 
This is deciding what you want to believe, finding someone who tells you what you want to hear, and pretending that there are no other voices. It’s deeply irresponsible — and you can’t blame Reinhart-Rogoff for that mistake."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bellah 1: The religious atheist

An extended series of reviews of Robert Bellah's Religion in Human Evolution. In this first post, atheists are religious, after all.

Robert Bellah coined the term "civic religion" for the system of rituals, saints, feast days, deities and the like that characterize America's civic (i.e. putatively non-religious, secular) life, and doubtless the life of every cohesive human culture. The founding fathers take on the role of deities, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July make up the major holidays, with minor deities and holidays sprinkled elsewhere in the pantheon and calendar. The president takes on a heavily archetypal role, residing in the symbolic center of the nation, communing with past presidents and protected by phalanxes of soldiers, agents, and wizards of all kinds. We look upon him (or maybe someday her) with awe, as all primates gaze at higher-status individuals. And we participate in the various cycles of election and debate, however hollowed out they may have become by the money power, which so nearly overwhelms every other influence and legitimacy.

His latest book is a magnum opus, turning to the past and taking a broad brush view of the origins and development of religion from the deepest prehistory to the end of the axial age. It is an extremely rich (and long) book, provoking me into several blog entries.

Bellah scoffs at the new atheists, and provides a dry analysis of Steven Weinberg's particular version, which winds up ... "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless.":

"However, Weinberg can no more evade the search for meaning than the rest of us can. Like Jaques Monod, he has opted for cosmic pessimism as his meaning.  
Not quite, though. He does find consolation: 'But if there is no solace in the fruits of our research, there is at least some consolation in the research itself ... The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.' In these closing remarks of his book The First Three Minutes, (scientists frequently allow themselves rhetorical riffs in their final remarks, which are often most revealing), what Weinberg has really done is to move from science as a cultural system to religion as a cultural system, and affirm the practice of science as his religion; fair enough, if it weren't quite so condescending to the rest of us who are left at the level of farce. But then religions are often exclusive."


So, one can be without theism, but one can not be without religion, which Bellah seems to define as some system of meaning, personal and collective, which motivates whatever one does and thinks, beyond the immediate imperatives of survival.

This seems fair enough, despite the commonly interchangeable usage of theism with religion. There really are differences- for instance, Buddhism is a religion but has in some of its "vehicles" virtually no theism.

The way of science (which I will have stand in for the atheist attitude in general) clearly has its rituals and religious aspects. A scientific community typically has its weekly gathering, in the guise of a seminar where some dominant member of the larger community beyond the immediate institution is invited to retell the story of how they battled with intransigent reality to find a precious jewel of knowledge. Afterwards, audience members can step up to battle hand-to-hand, as it were, asking incisive questions of the speaker, to display their own powers and confidence, and perhaps to wrong-foot or even fatally embarrass the speaker.

And science contains an exacting moral system as well, which is perhaps not so well appreciated by theists, who think that without god, all is permitted. Not so! Truth is at the very center of this system, leading to an atmosphere of habitual and pervasive integrity. All results are checked and discussed, and if one has shaded anything, reality will make sure it comes out in the end anyhow, so no one gains from ethical breaches in the long run. It is a bit like working under the eye of a truly, and terrifyingly existing god. But one who is in the end scrupulously fair and mechanically impartial. We are Spinozists, of a sort.

Humanity and charity is less of a virtue here, and indeed one can hardly become a leading scientist without somewhat cavalierly churning through student after student, post-doc after post-doc, few of whom are destined to succeed in the career one is educating them for. It is a competitive system, where one must take with a grain of salt the constant refrain of "we need more science students". We may need more hands in the labs, and we may want plenty of candidates wending and weeding their way through the system, but that is not the same as ending up with more scientists.

The scientific pursuit is also a leading form of shamanism in our time, (competing only with that of economics and the mysteries of money), providing dramatic revelations of occult powers and secret realms beyond all imagining. From nuclear power and E=mc2, to wheeling galaxies and moon landings, the priesthood has shown itself the master of esoteric knowledge and vast powers. The knowledge is true, which presents some difficulty for the narrative-maker, who always seeks to tell a human story, rather than an inhuman story. Nevertheless, it can still be fashioned into a serviceable story, if one revels in the vast scales involved, as a wan substitute for actual drama.

It gives us power and knowledge, but does it give us meaning? As Weinberg says, no it does not. We always have to make up meaning for ourselves. And that is where the religion of science or atheism is deficient. Its project is precisely to drain psychological projections, i.e. meanings, from things so that they can be dispassionately investigated, reduced, and analyzed. After everything is broken down, what is left?

Meanings, then, tend to creep into the community of science from unconscious sources, if they do not arrive through an explicit ideology or mythology. Pride, hubris, greed, tribal identity, ambition- all have their place, as do better motives of helping others and seeking novel and pure truths. These are not amplified by a mythical narrative, which is, in my view, a good thing. But at the same time, they are present implicitly as human nature, and it falls to self-analysis, self-awareness, and mutual criticism to limit their dangers even while they propel the whole enterprise forward.

So, yes- we all have rituals and motivations that lend meaning to our lives and pursuits. Indeed, as above, we can have and typically do have, many gods. But that doesn't make all religions equivalent or equally "true". History is littered with narratives that worked for a time, then failed, succeeded by others and yet others. The axial age, which will come up in future posts, consisted of a growing self-awareness and criticism of these narratives, improving their moral implications while bringing them closer, inch by inch, to something we might call true in an analytical sense.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Passing of the pandemic epoch

Don't worry about pandemics ... evolution isn't quite that fast.

One of the great fears among catastrophists, to go with meteor strikes and robots run rampant, is pandemics. Human history is littered with horrible epidemics that decimated (or worse) populations all over the world. Recent episodes like Spanish influenza and HIV are pretty fresh in mind, as is SARs and the ongoing fear of new super-influenza strains coming from the livestock pens of Asia.

One thing all these epoisodes have in common is the movement of pathogens into a new population with relatively little past exposure or resistance. The source of the Spanish influenza is unclear, but HIV clearly jumped the species barrier from chimpanzees to humans roughly in the 1950's, and other plagues and pandemics, such as those that swept through the post-contact Americas, or the black plagues of Europe, came from external sources.

But by this point we have so thoroughly homogenized the world, both in human travel between all points of the compass, and by human invasion of all corners of the natural world, that one can assume that there are no sources of novel pathogens left. That leads me to the conclusion that we have relatively little to fear from future pandemics. A dangerous prediction, to be sure, so I make it with some trepidation. Perhaps it would be better to call it an educated guess.

Future novel pathogens would have to be newly constructed, a far more difficult barrier than one of simple contact between previously remote populations or species. Surely, evolution is always hard at work recombining viral and bacterial genomes to create the next super-bug. But the drama of pandemic is typically counter-productive for the intelligent pathogen. That is why the most feared pathogens, like HIV or plague, are zoonoses- pathogens that inadvertently jumped from the species they were happily adapted to into a different one (us) they were not adapted to and whom they killed in wanton fashion, destroying their own little homes.

Influenza, likewise, comes from birds and / or pigs (as did SARS, from bats), and the same argument applies- that we have been exposed to all accessible wild variants by this time, and the probability of new and dangerous variants arising in these same reservoir species is far lower than the prior chance of contact with existing, host-adapted pathogens.

Another possible source is human inventiveness, now that we can engineer genomes and organisms with some skill. But unlike something like the stuxnet computer virus, a real virus would not be so easily contained, and makes a truly abysmal weapon for anyone but the masochistic psychopath.

Lastly, the growing drug resistance of well-known pathogens like Staphalococcus aureus, malaria, STDs, and tuberculosis are quite a bit more likely to return as public health issues in the future than any exotic pandemic. That medically useful antibiotics or their relatives are still allowed to be used in routine animal feed is appalling, though the problem stems more acutely from overuse in humans, and lack of hygeine in hospitals, of all places.

  • The new atheists ... a bit rude!
  • Oh, those pagan peeps.
  • NCAA players- hung out to dry.
  • Religion pokes its head into economics.
  • Corruption continues, cozily. Lessig on corruption: "we have lost our republic". Yes, our legislative process is completely broken.
  • The real retirement problem? Crappy 401k's, and not enough Social Security.
  • Austerity / neoliberal economics is wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • But for the GOP, shame is not a word in the dictionary.
  • "But employers hope the guest-worker program will also prevent low-wage Americans from getting a raise."
  • Tuna laundering on the high seas.
  • Economic quote of the week, from Jim Chanos on the pervasiveness of fraud in business and corruption in government, in the US:
"One of things we like to say is that in virtually all cases of major financial market fraud over the past 20 years, the only people who really brought forth the fraud into the light were either internal whistleblowers, the press, and/or short-sellers. It was not the normal guardians of the marketplace – regulators, law enforcement, external auditors or people like that — that did it."
  • Economics graph of the week, from JP Morgan (slide 12). Interest rates vs stock performance, indicating that the sweet spot of inflation is about 5%. Below that rate, rising interest rates/inflation correlates with economic growth, while above, it negatively affects the stock market.