The Rhetoric of the Right: Language Change and the Spread of the Market

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Overview

This study seeks to demonstrate the subtle ways in which changes in the language associated with economic issues are reflective of a gradual but quantifiable conservative ideological shift.

In this rigorous analysis, David George uses as his data a century of word usage within The New York Times, starting in 1900. It is not always obvious how the changes identified necessarily reflect a stronger prejudice toward laissez-faire free market capitalism, and so much of the book seeks...

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The Rhetoric of the Right: Language Change and the Spread of the Market

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Overview

This study seeks to demonstrate the subtle ways in which changes in the language associated with economic issues are reflective of a gradual but quantifiable conservative ideological shift.

In this rigorous analysis, David George uses as his data a century of word usage within The New York Times, starting in 1900. It is not always obvious how the changes identified necessarily reflect a stronger prejudice toward laissez-faire free market capitalism, and so much of the book seeks to demonstrate the subtle ways in which the changing language indeed carries with it a political message. This analysis is made through exploration of five major areas of focus: "economics rhetoric" scholarship and the growing "behavioral economics" school of thought; the discourse of government and taxation; the changing meaning of "competition," and "competitive"; changing attitudes toward labor; and the celebration of growth relative to the decline in attention to economic justice and social equality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"David George’s The Rhetoric of the Right carefully demonstrates the dramatic rightward shift in elite rhetoric about markets and government over the last generation. Using a deceptively simple method—counts of words and word pairings in the New York Times—George teases out a rich story of how corporate executives came to be seen as creative "entrepreneurs", markets as universally beneficial, and government as distant and inefficient, rather than a democratically controlled means for solving basic market failures." - Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley B. Resor Professor Political Science, Yale University
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Product Details

Meet the Author

David George is Professor of Economics at La Salle University, USA.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Markets over Governments 3. Competition over Cooperation and Monopoly 4. Consumers over Citizens 5. Management over Labor 6. Growth over Progress, Justice, and Equality 7. Conclusion

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    This is a very timely book to be released to the world. Just in

    This is a very timely book to be released to the world. Just in time for the Nov. Presidential Elections. Language is culture and culture is language." the late anthropologist Edward T. Hall once said. The terms such as "job creators" or "job destroyers", coined via focus groups, Karl Rove and Frank Lutz and repeated ad nauseam by the mainstream media, shape people's world view so much so that they vote against their own self-interest. Dave George's analysis of the New York Times database looks at phrases and unique words such as "capitalism", capitalistic system" versus "our economy, or the "free-enterprise system." The evolution and switch to these things to avoid negative connotations, except if it is smearing a political candidate or party is made quite clear in the book. "Burdensome taxes" or "burdensome regulations" are two other terms bandied about by so called conservative pundits to attack "big government". George Orwell was right about "The Politics of the English Language", in essay he once wrote, but the subtlety at which these "spin doctors" manipulate the masses through the mass media, goes far beyond the imagination of Orwell, but we should head his warning and that of David George. The public should read this book and take the ideas to deconstruct and decipher the rhetoric of the right and make better voting decisions. The ideas in this book aid in the critical thinking skills all of us must have to avoid being duped like members of the Tea Party are by the mainstream media.

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