A drawing by Kyla Scanlon describing the mental model of the vibe cession.

Vibecession

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Updated Dec 08, 2023 at 12:28PM EST by Zach.

Added Dec 07, 2023 at 12:53PM EST by Aidan Walker.

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Related Explainer: Are We In The Middle Of A 'Vibecession'? Internet Debates About Whether The Economic Downturn Is Real Or 'Vibes Based' Explained

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About

Vibecession, also spelled Vibe Cession, is a slang term and economics concept coined by content creator Kyla Scanlon to describe attitudes around the American economy in 2023. According to Scanlon and others, the "vibe cession" consists of widespread gloom and negative sentiment about the economy despite most indicators showing that the economy is improving. The vibecession sparked viral debates on X / Twitter, TikTok and other platforms in late 2023 as posters argued about whether the economy actually was doing well or if it was even real.

Origin

Scanlon coined the term in a June 30th, 2023, Substack post, titled "The Vibecession: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy," which received almost 150 likes over the course of six months.[1] Scanlon posted about the vibecession on her other social media accounts as well on TikTok and X (shown below). She defined the term as:

Vibecession — A period of temporary vibe decline where economic data such as trade and industrial activity are relatively okay but people feel bad. it’s mainly a disconnect between consumer sentiment and economic data.


Post Kyla Scanlon @kylascan Jun 30, 2022 Are we manifesting a recession? We seem to be in a Vibecession - a period of temporary vibe decline where the economic data says things are okay, but people aren't. kyla.substack.com/p/the-vibecess... 371 ● 1578 3K la 口企

Scanlon told Know Your Meme that she came up with the concept while "riding my bike" and that while vibes preexisted social media and "this concept has always been around — reflexivity, animal spirits, etc … it's exacerbated because we are constantly tuned into each other."

Spread

In the fall and winter of 2023, the "vibecession" term began to gain more traction in mainstream media conversations as it spread online. The New York Times published an editorial describing the "vibe-cession" on December 6th, 2023.[4] Many commentators described it as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other cultural traumas, including X user @deleteevelyn on December 4th, 2023, who received over 17,000 likes in three days for identifying the vibecession as a response to COVID (seen below).[5]


evelyn website @deleteevelyn most logical vibecession answer is that almost everybody's life got dramatically worse in early 2020 and never quite got back to 100% normal. everybody got more sick and more insane and nobody has any idea how to fix it except to wait it out or something 10:00 PM Dec 4, 2023 745.7K Views 32 . ● 1.7K 17K 1.2K : [(→

The vibecession term notably encapsulated a debate on X that raged throughout the summer. Left-leaning online commentator Will Stancil had for years been talking about vibes, arguing that much discourse online was shaped by perception more than reality.

Stancil's series of posts then attracted attention from others observing it from afar, including X user @JosephPolitano on August 31st who received 1,500 likes in three months for sharing screenshots of one of Stancil's many debates (seen below).[2]


Joey Politano @JosephPolitano. Aug 31 I think Will Stancil has reached his breaking point on the vibecession debate 41 Will Stancil @whstancil - 10h THIS IS UNRELATED TO MY POINT. SOMETIMES PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN YOU. My point is that whatever is driving short-term economic sentiment in the US, it's delinked from hard economic indicators. How many times do I have to say it?!? Adam H. Johnson @adamjohnsonCHI · 19h Replying to @samknight1 The US is a uniquely (compared to other "developed countries") difficult place to be poor in and it's a hellish place to be very poor in all of which by design-creates a lot of panic for those who are a rung or two above poor even if they are doing ok According to The Line Graphs 76 1 36 21 Will Stancil @whstancil - 10h The utter incuriosity of even accomplished and theoretically intelligent leftists - their seeming inability to accept that sometimes people say or do things that aren't some kind of ideological pretext - makes you realize how Jacobins ended up executing scientists. 1 73 170 17 1.5K 120.8K 57 10.5K 196K ↑ 口企

The overall debate reached a fever pitch when a user supposedly working at a bar where Stancil dined posted a photo of a check showing that Stancil purportedly ate a single hot dog and a side of fries alone. The original exchange between Stancil and the poster was later deleted, but X user @francisxwolf posted about this incident on November 30th, 2023 (seen below), receiving over 3,000 likes in roughly a week.[3]


Joey Politano @JosephPolitano · Nov 28 I am formally declaring the vibecession discourse to have gotten completely out of hand 49 Will Stancil @whstancil 29m ayfkm will stancil eating a hot dog al... . 15h Replying to @mollywidstrom he got a hot dog at my bar the other day. He was eating alone Kitchen IP 11/15/2023 4:52 PM AM BAR STANCIL W 1 of 1 Check: 20031 Table Tent 2 DOG 76 0.G.B SIDE FRIES 2.3K ₁493K 口 :

Various Examples


litquidity @litcapital Y'all in a vibecession I'm in a vibe bull market (sauced) We are not the same 4:30 PM Aug 11, 2022 5 ↓ 14 232 口1 Subscribe (→ Guy Berger @EconBerger 22h An income-based explanation for "vibecession": 1) Even though we haven't had an actual recession over the past 2 years, inflation-adjusted personal income per capita (blue) have behaved in a recessionary way. 2) That's true even though "the economy is good" (orange) 2Y Annualized Growth 7.5% 5.0% 2.5% 0.0% -2.5% -5.0% 12 No Recession, But Recession-Esque Income Growth www.w Oct-60 Oct-67 Oct-74 Oct-81 Oct-88 Oct-95 Oct-02 Oct-09 Oct-16 Oct-23 Recession Real Personal Income Per Capita (12MMA) Real Personal Income Per Capita Exc. Transfers (12MMA) Source: BEA, NBER, Author's Calculations 38 174 : ₁77K @econberger 口企
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7309643825868328234
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7278336587539189035
walldee @neighborrunner *me sockdem And ben gross approaching a random woman on the street* alright shorty, Stancil son or vibecession daughter *us getting pepper sprayed* 2:08 AM Dec 4, 2023 4,384 Views 11 227 146 口2 : ↑ Will Stancil @whstancil face it, I'm winning Episodes All Episodes The Daily The Daily More like this The Bad Vibes Around a Good Economy ●●● Sort The American economy, by many measures, is doing better than it has done in years. But for many Americans,... Today • 21 min :


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Top Comments

Cordelius
Cordelius

Keep in mind there is a lot of misinformation being spread about the economy. We're actually doing somewhat decently in terms of things like inflation (which is at an all time low) BUT corporations are gouging prices in order to spread a general belief that inflation IS occurring in order to push the blame upon the increase of wages. The housing crisis we're in now is because hedge funds and corporate real estate companies invading housing markets in order to jack up the prices of homes and then using said crisis to demand home owners sell their places for lower than what they're truly worth.

All this economic misinformation is specifically designed to squeeze every penny out of us and then point towards the current administration or labor unions for being at fault.

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