Sunday, October 5, 2008

Metaphors Reveal the Economic Ignorance of Politicians and Journalists (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs on how the press uses clever sounding metaphors to try to cover up the fact that they don't have a clue:

The past few weeks have been a difficult time for economic educators. Never has it been more obvious that all their efforts have been in vain. Neither the politicians nor the journalists, who have been spewing out words at a rapid rate with regard to the so-called financial crisis and the proposed financial bailout, have a clue about the economy.

It’s not simply that these nincompoops use metaphors, rather than more precise terms and ideas, in speaking about the economy. We all use metaphors to some extent; we can’t talk without them. But the journalists’ metaphors are routinely so mixed that one wonders what is going on in their minds. Many, for example, refer in one breath to financial markets that are “freezing up” and in another breath to financial markets that are “melting down.” Which is it? Are these markets cold and immobile or hot and fluid? The speakers know (or fancy that they know) only that something is terribly wrong; they can’t be bothered with understanding exactly what is wrong or why.

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