First a disclaimer. I don’t like to use issues related to public mood in any connection to commerce, culture or even the stock markets. It seems to me to be far too intangible, impossible to measure or explicate to be relied upon as an explanation for anything. The consumer confidence index doesn't correlate with anything.
Sadness is the emotion associated with emptiness, lack of direction and lack of hope. It is almost the emotional opposite of optimism.
Somehow this mood has moved from the political realm where it is epidemic to the lives of ordinary people.
If the hippies were defiant, optimistic and vigorously open to change, the current milieu is the opposite. Despondent, with little hope and most people seeing a gloomy future,
I must note that I observe this and feel it, but it does not characterize me personally. San Francisco is a gold rush boom town to an extraordinary degree. But the social ‘sadness’ is here too.
To me, the possible commercial impact is on the creation of new businesses. While San Francisco is experiencing an explosion of start-up businesses (and Israel is too) the pervasive urban mood here is anti-business and the overhead gloom is not conducive to starting new businesses.
The hippies created a vast flora of new businesses because they wanted to create a new world and they were exuberant. Those seem to me to be necessary qualities for starting a business.
A recent national seminar for lawyers who defend businesses against employee and customer plaintiffs was about jury attitudes. The researchers report that most people on juries these day, around the country, are anti-corporate and sympathize with employees who are fired regardless of the reason and are supportive of customers who claim damages, regardless of the merits.
This does not seem to be the milieu in which entrepreneurial people are going to explore new businesses or test the market with a new business idea.