Showing posts with label rhetoric. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rhetoric. Show all posts

Monday, March 17, 2014

Unlearning Economics — Unlearning the History of Capitalism

Argument versus narrative. Facts versus ideology. This would be a good example for a class in critical thinking, comparing and contrasting logical argument and rhetorical persuasion.

Unlearning the History of Capitalism
Unlearning Economics

See also Izabella Kaminska, For the benefit of new readers at Dizzynomics. Skip down to the eighth paragraph, "As to my overall position."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Paul Rosenberg — Stop enabling the right: The media just makes dysfunction worse

Our politics are a disaster because the media -- and the president -- pretend conservatives are dealing with facts
Examines some logical fallacies used in sophistical reasoning to “make the worse case the better” (Protagoras, DK80b6).

Stop enabling the right: The media just makes dysfunction worse
Paul Rosenberg

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bill Mitchell — More public infrastructure means higher taxes – False, go to bottom of the class

Metaphors! They are more than a fancy way of emphasising some point – that is, their power goes beyond meagre linguistic construction. The research suggests they are part of our deep mental or neural capacity, which we draw on to sort out facts and ideas. They are conceptual devices intrinsically linked to the way we think abstractly. Metaphorical language reinforces our ideology (worldview) and so it is no surprise that political parties have become very interested in framing their messages using simple and common metaphors which resonate with the way we feel about things. George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, considers we do not make our political choices on the basis of rational dissection of competing facts and arguments but rather respond to central (or grand) metaphors with reinforce our worldview. We thus consider facts or argument within that framework of thought. I am doing a bit of work in this area as a way of understanding why central Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) propositions (which are so patently obvious and have strong explanatory capacity) evade acceptance among people, even those who express liberal perspectives (in this context meaning – are open to new ideas).

In the 2012 book written by Anat Shenker-Osorio – Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy – we learn that language is a tool that conservatives use to limit what we might consider to be possible. They construct the “economy” in such a way as to distort the way we comprehend economics.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
More public infrastructure means higher taxes – False, go to bottom of the class
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stuart Birks — The importance of rhetoric

It's not only what you say, but how you say it that produces an effect in communication of views. So much for rationality being the dominant criterion.

Real-World Economics Review Blog
The importance of rhetoric
Stuart Birks

Monday, August 12, 2013

Alexander Reed Kelly — Capitalism Is Changing Our Language: Study

Researchers at UCLA put 1.5 million English-language books into a tool that catalogs phrase usage and found that “over the last 200 years there has been an ever-increasing use of particularly acquisitive words: ‘get’, ‘unique’, ‘individual’, ‘self’, ‘choose’; while over the same period ‘give’ and ‘obliged’ decreased,” Owen Hatherley writes at The Guardian.
The pattern only changed briefly during the relatively egalitarian Western period between the 1940s and the 1970s.
“What has happened over those 200 years was the rise to dominance of capitalism, which obviously changed, and changes, our language and thinking,” Hatherley continues. The results suggest that the English language has long been in the process of becoming a class language, where words that are sympathetic with capitalist values and perspective are accepted as “standard....
 As this tendency strengthens, it becomes increasingly obvious that society is not controlling its economic life, but is in part being controlled by it.” 
Capitalism Is Changing Our Language
Alexander Reed Kelly

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Zachary Karabell — The ‘laws of economics’ don’t exist

Not the strongest argument that could be mounted, but the idea is right. All too often the phrase, "the laws of economics," is a rhetorical device used by ideological advocates meant to persuade and convince others of the necessary truth of their position. NOT.

The ‘laws of economics’ don’t exist
Zachary Karabell

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Michael McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui — John Boehner Compares Tax Proposals Of White House To Stealing

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared Thursday that seeking more revenue in order to reduce the federal deficit or to replace sequestration's pending budget cuts is tantamount to stealing from Americans.
The Huffington Post
John Boehner Compares Tax Proposals Of White House To Stealing
Michael McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui

The Speaker losing it, or just pumping the base?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rodger Mitchell — Why MMT frustrates the hell out of me

Well, I guess Mike Norman would agree with you, Rodger. Time to take the gloves off.

But it seem to me that at least some the MMT economists are pretty edgy for academics, and I don't know how much farther Randy Wray, Bill Mitchell, and Stephanie Kelton can go. UMKC profs Bill Black and Michael Hudson are also at the front line. Jamie Galbraith, too. They are prolific enough, and I don't detect a lack of passion for the cause. They are just not getting media coverage yet, although it is growing.

My own feeling is that concerted action by as many economists and financial professionals as possible, from whatever school of thought, is needed, instead of arguing with each other over finer points, while the neoliberal establishment is burning down the house.

It should be possible to some simple framing on the big issues like the damaging effect of deficit hysteria and public debt reduction, while calling for a demand-based solution instead of supply-side.

Monetary Sovereignty
Why MMT frustrates the hell out of me
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paul Krugman — The Dismal State of the Dismal Science

In which Paul Krugman trashes the Heritage Foundation and the Chicago boyz.

The New York Times | The Conscience of a Liberal
The Dismal State of the Dismal Science
Paul Krugman | Professor of Economics, Princeton University

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More on framing

1. Spending Cuts Spur Growth
2. Only Private-Sector Job Growth Matters
3. Public Employees Are a Problem
4. Education and Training Restore Family-Supporting Wages to Dislocated Workers
5. The “Skills Gap”
6. American Corporate Taxes Are Among the Highest in the World
6 Republican Economic Myths Obama and Dems Must Stop Repeating
Roger Bybee

So we have another gap between what is “true” in the conservative media bubble and the objective facts. In the real world, we spend about $25 per day on the needy. But, according to Fox News, the figure is $168.
How an Astounding New Right-Wing Lie About the Economy Is Born
Joshua Holland | Senior Writer

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Double-Speak – the language of the corporate cult

George Orwell would be impressed by how thoroughly double-speak has been mastered as the language of the corporate cultists.

The Huffington Post
How Corporate America Is Turning Into a Cult and Why It's Harming the American Employee
Ruth Whippman
(h/t Rebel Capitalist via Twitter)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nicholas Kaldor on exorcising the demon of monetarism

Ramanan put up a must-read Kaldor quote of which the festival of Diwali reminded him. The festival of Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, symbolized by the gods vanquishing the demons.

Why are these two things important for our understanding. First, we are dealing with a fundamental cognitive mistake, indeed, a mathematical one. Secondly, this mistake is not one that highly intelligent people would be likely to make analytically. Moreover, they exhibit strong resistance to analytical counter-argument, even though the math is not only clear but simple, indeed, elementary. This sends an important signal.

The signal is that we are not dealing with reason alone here, and so rational argument is not likely to change either minds or hearts. In fact, recent psychological research reveals that when indisputable fact is marshaled to counter such arguments, those holding the position tend to double down instead of retreating — even the most intelligent measured by conventional standards. Clearly something other than reason is involved.

Kaldor apparently realized this judging from his metaphor. While the ancient sages were cognitively advanced, they realized that communicate with the people of their eras they needed to speak in context. So they used metaphors like battles between gods and demons in their teaching stories. These stories were heard by children who took them literally but the object of such storytelling was to plant seeds that would later mature into deeper understanding. The stories of heavenly battles were meant to symbolize the inner struggle of all between the "angels of their better nature" and the forces of temptation.

Carl Jung was probably the first Western scientist to approach the ancient teaching stories analytically. He realized that they were actually about the tension between conscious cognitive-volitional-affective operations and unconscious ones. Can we see the dialectic going on in the social, political, and economic arena among ideologies in this light. I think so.

Therefore what is needed is an approach that is not only cognitive but one that addresses all levels. For example, arguments involving debt tend to be moralistic and rhetorical more than factual or logical. In fact, when monetary economics is first explained to them, many people recoil in horror at the notion that public debt is actually "good" and, indeed, usually necessary.

We have talked quite a bit about framing counter-arguments previously. I strongly suggest reading The Debunking Handbook, suggested in the comments by modernmoney. It's a short and easy read.

I would also encouraging looking at cognitive bias and informal fallacy. Here is list of cognitive biases. Here and here are lists of informal fallacies.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Joe Romm announces his new book on the art of persuasion

Joe Romm plugs his new book. Looks good. Follow the link he provides to look inside.

I'd say it is a must for the shelf of progressive bloggers, along with George Lakoff's works and Drew Westen's The Political Brain for the grounding in cognitive science.

Knowing the cognitive baises and informal fallacies is also required now for pretty much everyone, since they are being used to persuade too, but from the dark side.

Climate Progress
Buy #Language Intelligence: Lessons On Persuasion From @Jesus To @LadyGaga
Joe Romm