Blurriness of Political and Economic Language

Political and economic talk is totally blurry because of ambiguity and vagueness. The only way to make one’s way through it is to tag these terms to particular persons. In other words, make them relative to the person using the term.

But even this will not solve the muddle because of psittacism — talking like a parrot without any understanding. And a related problem is that of what Susan Stebbing called “potted” or “canned” speech [Chapter 6, Potted Thinking, Thinking to Some Purpose, 1939]. This is the use of catchwords and slogans without any backing. So, it is pointless to talk to someone who uses words and phrases without the ability to supply a clarification through a definition.

I don’t know why, but the following TED presentation by Kajsa Ekis Ekman in 2014 sticks with me as an example of someone who wants to sincerely give a definition, but fails. She talks instead about the strategies and effects of a capitalist economy, and recommends democratization of the workplace.

Now, compare this talk with that of G.A. Cohen: Criticism of Capitalism by G. A. Cohen, reflecting on Al Capp’s creature, the Shmoo

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