Economese–or the Misplaced Nominative

Economese–or the Misplaced Nominative

Mainstream capitalist economics has become, among other things, a language. I do not mean simply that economists employ a professional jargon. How could they not? Between Economese and ordinary English there are more than differences of vocabulary; there are different relations between subject, verb, and object … and so on. New Yorkers and Carolinians, say, speak two dialects of the same language. A New Yorker says, “Give me a lift downtown, will you?” A Carolinian says, “Would you carry me downtown?” Both mean, “Might I enter your car and be conveyed downtown if you’re going that way?” Should a mainstream economist wish a lift and make his wish known in Economese, he would have to say something like “Assuming I enter your car with your permission, and assuming the car is going downtown, it could drive us both.”

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Lima