[Marxism] Ideologically Loaded Rhetoric of Mainstream Economics
michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
Sat Oct 17 11:13:25 MDT 2009
A half-century ago, John Kenneth Galbraith had a marvelous description
of the shaping of language regarding crises.
Galbraith, John Kenneth. 1958. The Affluent Society (Boston: Houghton
38: "Marx's reference to the "capitalist crisis" gave the word an
ominous sound. The word panic, which was a partial synonym a half
century ago, was no more reassuring. As a result, the word depression
was gradually brought into use. This had a softer tone; it implied a
yielding of the fabric of business activity and not a crashing fall.
During the great depression, the word depression acquired from the event
described an even more unsatisfactory connotation. Therefore, the word
recession was substituted to connote an unfearsome fall in business
activity. But this term eventually acquired a foreboding quality and a
recession in 1953-1954 was widely characterized as a rolling
readjustment. By the time of the Nixon administration, the innovative
phrase "growth recession" was brought into use."
I am presently reading Reinhart and Rogoff's new book.
Reinhart, Carmen M. and Kenneth S. Rogoff. 2009. This Time Is Different:
Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (Princeton: Princeton University Press).
The book is an encyclopedic study of crises through the lens of
monetarism and public finance. The authors also casually bandy about
the expression, "financial repression," for any policy that
inconveniences the financial system.
I wonder what the academic economics community would think of a book
that routinely described economic policies in terms of labor repression.
I suspect that no matter what the quality of the book might be such
language would automatically convict the author of unacceptable bias.
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