Friday, April 29, 2011

Playing with semantics

In the highly popular book '1984', citizens of Oceania speak a language called "Newspeak". The book is about dystopia and the language was devised to meet the idealogical needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. The purpose of this language was to prevent free thought.Radical?
Not really because we see it happening around us today. In his book 'The economics of Innocent Fraud' noted economist and diplomat J.K.Galbriath points out in the chapter 'Renaming the system' how we have supplanted words to make certain systems more palatable to the general public. The most startling example is of course the substitution of the word "capitalism" by the word "Free Market". The word "free" is so positive that anyone will tend to believe that it is the best economic system in place and that any role of the state is undesirable and harmful.
As I think on similar lines, I see that the word "economic growth" is now used sparingly and is replaced "inclusive growth". Similarly, the word microfinance is hardly used. Financial inclusion is the buzz word among bankers and policy makers.
All in all, George Orwell was indeed someone who had good predicting ability!