Dog Whistle Economics’ Code Words

Here are a few code words that you will often see in economic writing followed by their true meaning. The code word is a dog whistle. It acts like an emotional marker only for those attuned to the underlying ‘moral’ issues implied by the code. While you may agree with the logical framework behind the code word, the purpose in using the code is to influence emotion instead of logic. When I talk about ‘economics as a morality play’ this is what I am referring to.

Politics is not the only place where you will hear dog whistles.

The code is in parentheses – which others may hear, but much more faintly.

  • PIGS/PIIGS = the eurozone periphery aka Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain and sometimes including Ireland (who are shameful debtors too lazy to work hard to actually pay for the things they buy, looking to free-ride on the euro zone)
  • Technocrat = unelected (and therefore illegitimate) policy maker (from elite institutions isolated from the mainstream and middle classes) who works behind the scenes to assist elected officials because of their prior policy experience (and connections to power)
  • Big Government = (statist and freedom-crushing) activist government policy (used to increase the size and scope of government to redistribute wealth illegitimately by government confiscation)
  • Bankster = (contemptible) high level financial services executive (who acts like a mob boss Gangster in ripping off ordinary folks as popularised in recent history by libertarian Murray Rothbard in Right Wing Populism in 1992 but now used more widely)
  • Anschluss economics = (repugnant) economic power play to force another society into a specific economic model (usually done by Germany, harkening back to the Third Reich and the German attempt to dominate Europe militarily)
  • Hippie = (unreasonable and dangerous) Occupy Wall Street protester (dressed like counter-culture and treasonous types from the 1960s and 1970s with no agenda due to economic ignorance)
  • Deficit terrorist = someone who sees fiscal deficit as a negative aka a deficit hawk (who acts like a terrorist in forcing pro-cyclical cuts that disproportionately affect the poor, middle and working classes because of uninformed economic views)
  • Trickle down economics = (bogus) supply-side economics that reduces regulation and lowers income taxes and capital gains taxes (in order to give kleptocrats a free hand in stealing legally)
  • Oligarchs = (deceitful and grasping) bankers and corporations who have a dominant role in society (and who act as unelected policy makers, because they bribe and lobby government, pushing policies that favour themselves)
  • Elites = those (untrustworthy) who have either attended what is considered a highly regarded educational institution or work in what is considered a well regarded corporation and who are in a policy making or policy influencing role (but who live in an ivory tower separated from reality that sets them apart ordinary people and gives them the ability to make bad policy decisions which only serve to enrich themselves and others from their caste)

All of these terms are morality plays used to influence emotion rather than speak from a voice of reason. Whenever you see them, you should ALWAYS be suspicious regardless of context or source.

I will update this list over time as I think of more words. So refer back to it here at Credit Writedowns.

Note: This post was supposed to be a quick and dirty list. But I have added the paragraphs below to the original post only at Credit Writedowns and Naked Capitalism due to some very useful suggestions from readers. Further updates will be at Credit Writedowns going forward.

Since economics has become a hot topic with the financial crisis, a lot of people who aren’t economic gurus have a great interest in the topic. I think that’s great. The reality is that there is a code in the economics world just as there is in any profession. For example, in real estate, an agent might say a house is a "must see" or has a "lovely interior" when advertising it. That’s code for "this house looks better on the inside so I have to tell you that or I can’t sell it." In education, a teacher might call a pre-school or primary school student "active" in an evaluation form because they know they must use neutral terminology. But this might be code for "disruptive" or "has an attention deficit".

The intent of this post is to make more plain what is meant by these hidden codes so that anyone can understand why the code is being used instead of the true message. My point is not to say that emotion or morality is illegitimate in economics, although it should be clear I lean toward rational argument given the unconscious use of a code word ‘morality play’, which was pointed out by a reader. After all, economics is a social science, and hence not objective; it is not a science as some of its practitioners wished it were; it’s not just about numbers but about social values, ethics and political judgments that are not the same for all people. Every economic policy has ethical and moral dimensions and is therefore not objective. Sometimes economists act like economics is a science; it is not – and their telling you it is like science is either deception or self-deception.

I believe you as a reader should always be on the lookout for loaded words that inflame emotions and code and jargon that masks deceptive intent. Sometimes the code is justified like when banks use ‘robosigners’ to process mortgage applications or when banks get a ‘bailout’ when they are clearly insolvent or when banks commit ‘errors’ in trying to evict people from their home. I say these are the kind of things that should make you angry; you should get worked up about it. Yves Smith and Michael Hudson are masters of using language to evoke emotion – and they make strong arguments. However, a lot of times, the code is used just to divert from a reasoned argument exactly because that argument is weak and must rely on emotion to have appeal. I say you should always do a double take when the code is employed to check whether it is a justifiable use or a cover for something else.

One more thing: occupying the neutral center is not always a great thing. The word ‘bipartisan’ is code for a reason. A lot of times, you have to take sides since economics is a social science and not objective. There is nothing wrong with that, especially because this is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis with key issues on the table. I take sides all the time, but I am trying to flag it when I do so you know it instead of trying to act like my analysis is always neutral. Sometimes I do so unconsciously though and you should be alert to code as a sign that I have done.

P.S. – I try to avoid these words. But they are insidious. Sometimes they creep in. (As I say above, the truth is that sometimes these words are legitimate. So sometimes I consciously use them to evoke the thinking in the code words, although less and less now. Sometimes they just come out – unconsciously. Bailout and morality play are the added words below I most use. You as a reader, though, should never give a free pass to anyone though. Always remember the code is suspicious.)

P.P.S. – the dog whistle is supposed to have one meaning that some can hear but that others can not hear at all or more faintly. It is supposed to be a ‘secret’ language that can be used in public discourse between like-minded people without offending anyone. So it makes sense to add in words that seem more neutral/non-pejorative but are really code. And so the ‘code’ is what is heard by advocates of the logic behind the dog whistle as opposed to what those opposed to that logic might hear. Many of the terms above are ‘loaded’ i.e. carry negative associations and therefore a bit obvious to be good dog whistles. The ones below are often more neutral sounding but are code nonetheless.

Also see Kantoos referring to the increased moralising in the Euro debt crisis.


  • Morality play = an (inappropriate) appeal to philosophy and emotion and morality in an economic or political argument (that is illegitimate because morality is bad or at least shouldn’t be a prevailing policy concern and because logic is always superior to emotion as a way of getting a response)
  • Free market = society (worthy of emulation and) guided by deregulated and desupervised economic policy (which is a good thing because freedom connotes choice and choice is good)
  • Job creators = (praiseworthy) individuals that hire or organisations where people work (and should therefore be seen as most responsible for creating jobs and given leeway by regulators, the media and society in general to do as they please)
  • Reform = (good) change that requires significant economic adjustments to implicit social contracts (toward the prevailing economic orthodoxy which includes lower taxes, free markets, and less regulation and should be viewed as positive because reform is viewed as such regardless of the impact on different groups)
  • Moral hazard = a (bad) policy choice which gives someone, some institution or some group within society a break (which they don’t deserve and therefore encourages them to free-ride and mooch off of society)
  • Class warfare = (bad) economic and political policy used to divide people (and pin the blame all on one political group and their allies to gain an unfair political advantage)
  • Wage inflation = (negative) rise in wage rates (that will lead to cost-push inflation and eventually to higher consumer prices unless stopped)
  • Bailout = (an illegitimate) provision of liquidity to forestall bankruptcy (because the recipient is bankrupt and not just temporarily lacking funds, making the financial aid a form of welfare)
  • Bipartisan = (what everyone should see as a legitimate) policy approach which mainstream economists and policy makers of different political leaning have endorsed (making this effort better than more partisan ideas.
  • Extremist/left-wing/right-wing = (dangerous and contemptible) economic ideas which can be considered outside the mainstream (and should therefore be considered illegitimate)
  • Printing money = (hyperinflationary) economic policy in which the central bank buys existing private sector financial assets for reserves it creates for the that purpose (and which will eventually destroy the value of the currency)
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About Edward Harrison

I am a banking and finance specialist at the economic consultancy Global Macro Advisors. Previously, I worked at Deutsche Bank, Bain, the Corporate Executive Board and Yahoo. I have a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. As to ideology, I would call myself a libertarian realist - believer in the primacy of markets over a statist approach. However, I am no ideologue who believes that markets can solve all problems. Having lived in a lot of different places, I tend to take a global approach to economics and politics. I started my career as a diplomat in the foreign service and speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French as well as English and can read a number of other European languages. I enjoy a good debate on these issues and I hope you enjoy my blogs. Please do sign up for the Email and RSS feeds on my blog pages. Cheers. Edward


  1. LeonovaBalletRusse

    With all due respect for the writer, the emotional content is “implied” by the code, and “inferred” by Sergeants and the troops carrying out the propaganda campaign.

  2. Astrolabe

    I like to watch out for the phrase ‘morality play’, which is used as part of a critical characterisation of the position of someone who suggests that there is a moral dimension of some policy or behaviour that has led to an unfortunate economic outcome.

    1. Pragmatist

      As one of the main popularizers of the term ‘bankster’ – an offensive and unhelpful term at best – I think Naked Capitalism could perhaps mend its own ways before criticizing others…

      1. Schemp

        The original definition of propaganda (see Edward Bernays) was emphatically not pejorative – it was speech meant to persuade, guide, convince, control. It might use truth OR lies, it might use slight coloration OR grave omission. It might speak the essential truth, or be a monstrous lie.

        If we regard Yves work as “white” propaganda from this perspective, I don’t think there is a crime. Yes, she is intending to persuade. She is using emotionally colored language to do it, and Harrison is perfectly correct to point this out.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          The “art of persuasion” is *RHETORIC*–in its original meaning, still observed by the literate. Its meaning has been corrupted by *propagandists* for a nefarious political *strategic* purpose: to impede authentic communication by the use of speech and the written word. It’s a *frame*.

          For *propaganda* in all its stupefying duplicity, see its complete definition in: “PROPAGANDA: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes” by Jacques Ellul (author of “The Technological Society”) – translated from the French by Konrad Kellen and Jean Lerner with an Introduction by Konrad Kellen (New York, Vintage Books, 1973; 1965 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.).

          Ellul was no P.R. Apologist. This book is the *sine qua non* for full comprehension of “propaganda” in our time.

          1. rotter

            Rhetoric in the classical sense, increasingly in the “de-politicized” west of post cold war fame, is undesireable from the POV of oligarchal capitalist-pig miscreants; in order for it to work, the intented target has know what thge words mean and have an attention span longer than 20 seconds. Advertising methods are the “rhetoric” of today. Advertising is merely commercial propaganda and in the capitalist culture, billions if not trillions have been spent on learning how to make people buy a crappy product they dont want or need. AH-HAAA!!! So now all propaganda is advertising.

        2. Anonymous Jones

          Great comment to a fantastic post.

          Words are amazing things. They can persuade in ways both unintentional and intentional. They can carry both more and less meaning than the speaker intends, depending on the recipient of the attempted communication.

          I’ve heard people who claim that every act of communication is an act of violence. It is usually done with a purpose, either consciously or unconsciously, to persuade.

          Whether any particular communication tactic is legitimate or illegitimate is for each person to decide on his or her own. I very much agree with the content (and what appears to be the spirit) of Ed’s post, and it dovetails with my predisposition to root out all my own cognitive biases: beware of those specific words that are meant to obfuscate and elicit an emotional response and consider carefully why someone has chosen those words.

          1. 80on40

            Terry Eagleton’s essay in December’s Harpers discusses Christopher Hitchens’s
            Arguably: Essays, including a piece on Philip Larkin who once glumly described
            the sexual act as a futile attempt to “get someone else to blow your nose for you.”
            I share with you what Harpers print that Eagleton copied that Hitchens says that
            Larkin wrote to imply that popular terms of the dismal science are forgettable.

      2. Yearning to Learn

        an offensive and unhelpful term at best –

        We would certainly hate to insult the banksters. they will likely cry all the way to their (bailed out) bank.

        I think Naked Capitalism could perhaps mend its own ways before criticizing others…

        perhaps you should re-read the post Pragmatist. You will see that the post slams ALL of the “moral” code words, not just one type.

        thus we see code words against OWS (hippie), and also code words against the big financial players (bankster). You see code words against the big debtors (PIIGS) and code words against the creditors (Anschluss)

        in sum, the post is doing EXACTLY what you are asking, it is telling NC readers/contributors to be wary of ALL code words.

        to quote the post: “Whenever you see them, you should ALWAYS be suspicious regardless of context or source.”

        That said… I will personally most likely continue to use the terms “financial elite” and “Financial oligarchs” when I discuss the narcissistic parasites who are the chief cause of our economic malaise. perhaps it offends them, but it’s about time someone brought them down from their “Doing God’s Work” pretentiousness. But note: I used the word “narcisisstic parasite” and thus you should understand that I am using a moral playword to convey the fact that I believe the destroyers of our economy (oops, did it again!) deserve nothing but contempt and punishment.

        As psychohistorian says (yet another morality play): laugh them out of power, and into the Hague.

      3. EH

        …the term ‘bankster’ – an offensive and unhelpful term at best…

        OK, fine, how does “profit pirate” sound to you?

          1. craazyman

            Based on my extensive pirate knowledge — gained from watching all of the “Pirates of the Carribean” movies, and especially the voodoo queen Tia Dalma — I’d say pirates are way cooler than banksters.

            Bankster is not an emotionally inflammatory word anymore than “beast” is when used to describe a carnivorous wild animal in nature running swiftly toward you with an angry expression on its face.

            It’s simply definitional and precise.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            For really useful *Pirate* information that can be connected to the Pirates of our time, see:

            “THE PIRATES LAFITTE: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf” by William C. Davis (Orlando, etc., Harcourt, Inc., 2005);

            “JEAN LAFFITE: Gentleman Rover” by Stanley Clisby Arther (New Orleans LA, Harmanson, Publisher, 1952);

            “LAFITTE THE PIRATE” by Lyle Saxon (New York and London, The Century Company, 1930);

            “THE PIRATE COAST: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805” by Richard Zacks (New York, Hyperion, 2005);

            “PIRATES & THE LOST TEMPLAR FLEET: The Secret Naval War Between the Knights Templar & the Vatican” by David Hatcher Childress (Kempton IL, Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003);

            “PIRATES: Terror on the High Seas From the Caribbean to the South China Sea (North Dighton MA, JG Press, World Publications Group, Inc., 1998, reprint 2006).

      4. F. Beard

        As one of the main popularizers of the term ‘bankster’ – an offensive Pragmatist

        I’ll tell you what offends me: the expression “respectable banker”. There is no such thing. They are all thieves of purchasing power no matter how “prudent” they may be.

        and unhelpful term at best Pragmatist

        Got a problem with proper labeling, do you?

      5. Binky the Bear

        How can one be offended by the truth?

        Unregulated capitalism is gangsterism. Underregulated banking is gangster banking. Bankster. Nice house you have there. What say I have my people forge some documents that say I own it?

        1. Andrew

          I’m tempted to go the full yardage and refer to them as wanker, banker, gangsters….. Bernanke getting the full treatment.


          Then again I’m not shy of raising the emotive stakes. Just like my class enemies. Let’s just be nice about it and shaft each other with clarity and politeness.

      6. Shyster Sister

        The word bankster was coined during the Great Depression (possibly by Ferdinand Pecora). It’s by no means a coincidence it’s popping up again in these times. Just wanted to add that since the list gave the impression it was a relatively recent coinage from 1992.

      7. Bill

        Ahem. “Bankster” is not a code word. It is understood by all as a portmanteau of “banker” and “gangster.” A code word is understood by the few. “Bankster” is also descriptive while playing on contrast. Bankers used to be the most trusted members of society, while gangsters were at the other end. Think of “carjack,” a combination of “car” and “hijack.” It is not a code word. It is a nice neologism.

      8. Travizm

        yeah Pragmatist…..but I read this for fun….and this loaded language is what gets me back (with my monthly subscription fee).

        This post has been good because it gives me more insight into these whistle tones than i had before.

        Id love a growing list on NK of these kinds of words. However I would vigorously oppose any kind of sterilisation or break-up of fine prose because of some politically correct notion….i hate political correctness…”Kill the politically correct” is the first line in my sacred text which I heard the other day bellowed whilst taking out the rubbish

        Finally, I challenge anyone to find a libertarian blog that has anywhere near the language sophist(iscation) of this one……and ill read that one too!

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The yearly *Passion Play* at Oberammergau still reigns in the hearts and minds of the *faithful*. It’s bed-rock.

  3. tagyoureit

    Pathos is certainly a valid means to influence others. Stating one should ALWAYS be suspicious, for example when I see the word elite, is also an appeal to the emotion of fear.

    I also feel that words themselves are not insidious, but rather the writers intention to influence (to instill or reinforce negative values & goals) may or may not be.

    Most economic writing, especially in blogs, either attempts to influence my agreement (as reader) with the author, or disagree with the writer’s account or version of some other person (or groups) ideas.

    It’s quite a site to behold, the battle for hearts and minds, in the “new” aether.

    Anyway, thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sure to file those words with “Threat Level Orange”

    1. nowhereman

      Like the phrase, “with all due respect” usually preceding a comment that neither gives nor intends respect. Interesting, the English language.

      1. CaitlinO

        Like the phrases ‘fat chance’ and ‘slim chance,’ opposing adjectives that result in the same meaning. As in: Fat chance that the Obama administration will ever actually prosecute some banksters. Substitute ‘slim’ for ‘fat’ and you end with the same sentiment.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        The author himself took no offense, au contraire. His answer makes it clear that he appreciated the correction, offered in all respect, as a *heads up*. Indeed, I was hoping he would take the correction in the spirit meant, and *perfect* his excellent argument thereby.

        So why do YOU take offense?

        1. Christophe

          Like the phrase “au contraire” usually modifying a comment that neither gives nor intends a contrary viewpoint, but rather defends an insecure position. More a bluff with a swagger. Interesting. Lexical borrowing in the English language.

      3. LucyLulu

        Another ‘must-include’ term that has had its meaning twisted to attach blatantly negative connotations, but now has reached widespread use and acceptance: entitlements

        And note how social security, which has been fully paid for by beneficiaries, has become lumped into the heap of “unearned social handouts” included in social supports included in what is referred to as entitlements. IIRC, the use of the word “entitlements” came as a result of suggestions made to the Republican Party by messaging experts, as was “job creators”.

      4. LucyLulu

        With all due respect, I absolutely mean to convey my literal respect when I use “with all due respect”. If I have no respect for the intended audience, my dismissive attitude is typically more clear (or so I’m told).

  4. jm51

    Under the definition of OLIGARCS you use the term LOBBYING. To be more accurate the word BRIBING should be used.

  5. John

    Neoliberal is a term I think wildly overused and incredibly broad (or simply ill-defined) and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that word used in a non biased or rigorous article, it always sets off alarm bells.

    Other words:

    Theft (especially in reference to taxation)
    Printing presses
    Hyperinflationary (when used in the context of countries obviously not suffering from hyperinflation)

    Also super cynical terms like ‘coming apocalypse’ etc..

  6. steelhead23

    I respectfully disagree. When mob bosses manipulate institutions, the effects are not merely technical, they ARE moral, or more accurately, immoral. Thus, the use of moral and values language is appropriate. We are all hippies now.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      It is expecially appropriate to utilize the term “Reich” for a certain QUAL-ITY of *Empire* of the so-called *German* Reich in its stages: more correctly, The Holy Roman Reich I, II, III, and now IV (finally global, now that the world’s imperial powers have *become one*).

      As Peter Viereck makes clear, in “META-POLITICS: The Roots of the Nazi Mind” (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1941; Capricorn Books, 1961: expanded/revised): The *German* REICH is not only an *Empire* but a *Kultur*. Today, the *Kultur* of the Global Reich is “our DNA uber alles.” This is a Reich for global tyranny by the 1% worldwide.

      It is important that the public comprehend that the proper name for *The Third Reich* of *Germany* is “The Holy Roman Reich III.” This fact aids comprehension of today’s Global Corporate Feudal State of each sector {“European Union” – “North American Union” – etc.) of the Global Order of “The Holy Roman Reich IV”. The existence of this “Fourth Reich” is plain from the text of the current “Mein Kampf” of the global Holy Roman Reich IV, and its importance to US is signified by the seal of approval by Morton C. Blackwell.

      I refer to the infamous tome by the Jesuit-trained Portuguese author, Plinio Correa de Oliveira: “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History” (York, PA, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP)[“a registered name of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc.”], 1993).

      The sycophantic “Foreword” is by “Morton C. Blackwell: president of The Leadership Institute and the Republican National Committeeman of Virginia. In the Reagan White House, he was Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison (1981-1984), with responsibility for religious, veteran, and conservative groups. He supervised the youth effort for Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Election Campaign. He supervised the youth effort for Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Election Campaign. A leading conservative in the Republican Party, Mr. Blackwell specializes in political education and training.” (xxii)

      The “Note to the Reader” is by “Raymond E. Drake: President: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP): New York, March 19, 1963: Feast of Saint Joseph: Prince of the House of David and Worker” (xix) is this name, “Drake” not connected in any way with the “Drake” of oil discovery in Pennsylvania (recall, the book published in York, PA)in conjunction with Ida Tarbell’s “Standard Oil of New Jersey Trust?”

      The views of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger are prominently featured. These are the views of the future Pope Benedict XVI, in youth an active member of the *Hitler Jugend* in Bavaria, eternal stronghold of the “German” Holy Roman Reich I through Reichs III and IV.

      Are these facts not germane to the *financial* dealings of the Global Corporate Feudal Order here and abroad? To use these key words for cheap *free association* propaganda is to cast aspersions on their use with grounded purpose: to expose the underlayment of the Global Reich of the *rentier class* — the 1% and their agents — the world over.

      May the proper phrase for this DYNASTIC GLOBAL TYRANNY strike FURY rather than fear in the hearts and minds of the 99% the world over. The 1% Kultur Reich — the top dogs of the Holy Roman Reich IV of *Europe* has been joined in common cause of global dominion over all resources and persons on the planet by the 1% of *the Americas* and by the 1% of each sector, in their turn.

      This is why it is compared, justly, with the dreaded “Third Reich” of Adolf Hitler: The Holy Roman Reich III, in fact.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        The NAME “DRAKE” cleaves to *Oil* from 1895 in Titusville, PA unto the present day, in affiliation with “British Petroleum.” The DNA is consistent from age to age.

        An excellent study of 19th Century NAMES of the future “American” Corporate Imperial Dynasties that would join in common cause with the *rentiers* of Olde Europe for the 1% “NOBILITY” in C.21 is: “THE GREATEST GAMBLERS: The Epic of American Oil Exploration” by Ruth Sheldon Knowles (Knowles, 1959; 1978, The University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK). in Titusville, Pennsylvania: “Colonel Edwin L. DRAKE, George BISSELL of New York, Benjamin SILLIMAN of YALE (Chemistry, Oil), John D. Rockefeller.

        CONNECT with NAMES in: “TRADING WITH THE ENEMY: The Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949” by Charles Higham (Higham, 1983; 1995, Barnes & Noble, New York); in: “AMERICAN DYNASTY: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush” by Kevin Phillips (New York, VIKING, 2004); in: “CONJURING HITLER: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich” by Guido Giacomo Preparata (London and Ann Arbor MI, Pluto Press, 2005); in: “THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT: From Rhodes to Cliveden” by Carroll Quigley (1949; San Pedro CA, GSG & Associates, n.d.); and in: “OPIUM WARS: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another” by W. Travis Hanes III, Ph.D. and Frank Sanello (1975, University of North Carolina Press; Hanes and Sanello, 2002; New York, Barnes & Noble, 2005).

        Note the continuity of NAMES (revealed DNA). The name “RUSSELL” – connected with YALE and Skull and Bones – connects with Dulles Dynasty, Bush Dynasty, Rhodes Dynasty, “House of Windsor”, The Milner Group, “The Society of the Elect,” The Round Table, Chambers of Commerce, Rhodes Scholarships, University of Chicago, YALE, BigOil, Opium *Poppy*, BCCI, Sir G.H.W. Bush’s “New World Order.”

  7. MacCruiskeen

    “All of these terms are morality plays used to influence emotion rather than speak from a voice of reason.”

    It might be worth noting that the notion of “dog whistle” is that it conveys one meaning to the “in group” that is expected to be missed by a different group; the “real” meaning is hidden or obfuscated. Whereas a term like “bankster” may be emotionally manipulative, but its meaning is bluntly obvious.

    So the point of a dog whistle is to attempt to persuade by deceit, to convince people that your words should be taken at face value while your true goals are hidden. Which is not quite the same as using emotionally loaded terms to persuade, even when it is done dishonestly (to avoid or deny contrary facts or reasoning), partly because the bias is more apparent.

    1. Yearning to Learn


      I couldn’t agree more.

      The biggest two out there right now: “Job Creators”

      We have allowed some people to rebrand the extremely affluent as “Job Creators”. This needs to be watched closely.

      that is a big difference than calling an OWS supporter a “dirty hippie” or calling a banker a “festering pustule on the rear end of a slug with cholera”

      other words that raise my suspicions:
      “patriotic” and “duty” and “shared sacrifice”

      recent big ones
      “sanitary/sanitation” and “public safety”.

      as in
      “we must mace these dirty hippies becasue they are unsanitary and are a danger to public safety”

      1. CaitlinO

        Don’t foget ‘reform.’ When preceded by ‘Social Security’ it means poverty for the 99%. When precede by ‘Tax’ it means riches for the 1%

      2. F. Beard

        “Job Exporters/Eliminators” is more accurate.

        But who needs jobs? The problem is lack of money, not lack of work. And the reason for the lack of money is the government enforced/backed counterfeiting cartel that steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

        1. be'emet

          exactly! problem of the day, how to distribute tickets to goods and services. the Work metaphor has obviously failed. And Redistribution, upward or downward, hasn’t yet attracted a popular moniker. Looting, Usury, Economic Justice, Social Credit – complex morality plays. Who of us is holding the vocabulary cannon?

        2. be'emet

          exactly! problem of the day, how to distribute tickets to goods and services. the Work metaphor has obviously failed. And Redistribution, upward or downward, hasn’t yet attracted a popular moniker. Looting, Usury, Economic Justice, Social Credit – complex morality plays. Who of us is holding the vocabulary cannon?

          (to the editor: I don’t consider this post a duplication of anything I written before, perhaps something of amplification. Please post!)

        3. Andrew

          Thanks guys, “You festering pustule on the rear end of a job exporting slug with cholera” will be the standard greeting for any raving nutcase of a neoliberal brave enough to accept my dinner party invitation.

          We need to differentiate ironic, gallows humor by powerless victims from manipulative PR agency spin. Context is all.

  8. Parvaneh Ferhadi

    I don’t see anything wrong with pointing out that technocrats are unelected officials that are not answerable to the people and make decisions people have no influence over or word in. The goal of democracy is exactly to avoid this from happening.

    The elite has disconnected from the people and do serve their own goals, that’s a fact. The goal of democracy is exactly to avoid this from happening.

    There is also nothing wrong with calling banksters what they are. The word catches perfectly the real nature of their intent and behaviour, which is to enrich themselves and cheat others.
    The goal of democracy is exactly to avoid this from happening.

    Same is true for oligarchs, which describes perfectly individuals that have shamelessly enriched themselves through privatisation of public resources according to the neo-liberal agenda.
    This also runs counter to the goals of democracy.

    The moral undertones these words have, mostly come from the reprehensible behaviour of the individuals that belong to these groups and not from any propaganda attributing it falsely to them.

    Even the word democracy is a morality play, if you want, because it somehow implies the rule of the people is preferable to the rule of a few oligarchs/banksters/the elite. There is nothing wrong with that moral judgement either. This is exactly right.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Have to agree wih Parvaneh, and disagree strongly with Edward here. If you, Edward, are pretending there aren’t ‘sides’ in what is essentially a battle for the future of democracy, and that there are not moral dimensions to this battle, then you are imposing your prejudices on what is clearly not a sterile battle of “ideas”. The idea that their are no moral questions involved is ridiculous: Do bankers have the right to use debt as a weapon to extract real resources from the people who, due to falling and stagnant wages and high commodities inflation (brought on by these same bankers), have no other way to maintain a home, food, healthcare and education than through use of said debt? The idea that individuals and corporate “persons” who use debt as a weapon in this way cannot be described as “banksters” is an anti-morality position. Describing nations with differing circumstances that have all been trodden down due to bankster misallocation of credit/debt that has been transferred to government balance sheets as “pigs” is a disgusting inversion and again, an anti-morality position.

      Just because you are attempting to stake out some middle ground position that is “objective” doesn’t mean the truth exists at that same middle ground. And to pretend there is a thing called “economics” that is separable from “politics” and “morality” is a big part of what has caused this mess and has determined the anemic, immoral, “technocratic” responses that are impoverishing the people and stealing the common national and individual property and birthright from the less fortunate people.

      Peddling objectivity is at best a fools errand in the current situation and at worst will continue to lead us to false solutions that unfairly skew towards the status quo which, in case you haven’t noticed, is the reality as seen by banksters and thieves. A banker who commits a crime is a criminal. Someone who attempts to tar an entire nation with a negative stereotype due to the behavior of its bank(st)ers is a liar and a criminal abettor.

      There is no way around it, you have to choose sides and take a stand. If that insults your sensibilities, then you are largely irrelevant and should just go home and live your anodyne and sterile fantasy of a morality-free existence.

      1. PL_2

        Excellently phrased.

        And there are ‘sides,’ yes, and we have to decide what is right and wrong.

        But we have to be careful not to stake out positions that make neutral people, independents, observers, or worse, natural allies, into enemies.

        The worst sentiment in the world right now, because it is a losing sentiment, is ‘you’re either with us or against us.’ That is the path to ruin.

  9. bobh

    I think oligarchy is a perfectly good word to describe a political system in which power is held by an elite group to benefit members of that elite. What better word would you prefer I suse.

      1. CaitlinO

        But the Greek root ‘kleptes’ meaning ‘thief’ gives us that wonderful term ‘kleptocracy’ which may be a better description of our current form of government than either democracy or oligarchy.

      2. Aquifer

        Hmmm, perhaps you are right “democracy”, especially these days, does tend to be a bit “obfuscatory” ….

        One could probably do a whole paragraph on what “democracy” is code for …. :)

  10. VietnamVet

    One dog whistle is “let them eat cake”. This phrase distills the hubris of the policy elites and wealthy who rule the world and their disdain for the rest of us. “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” The wealthy are going to keep their bad bets on the books. Governments are not going borrow more money to stimulate demand. Deflation instead of Inflation. Millions of housing foreclosures continue unabated. Millions and millions out of work; lives diminished and lost to suicide.

    Austerity and morality are the true dog whistles of the Oligarchs until they relearn, all over again, that a discontented Bourgeois put Guillotines to work.

    1. mansoor h. khan


      In a sense that is the purpose of life.

      …to put “badness” to Guillotines…

      1. first intellectually (find/propose better worldview/ideas)… then put old “bad” ideas to Guillotines

      2. then go work at the ballot box…

      3. promote/teach the “good” ideas found in step 1 above to future generations… so they don’t too astray

      at least we don’t need real guillotines anymore.

      Mansoor H. Khan

  11. John Emerson

    Oligarchy, technocrat, neoliberalism and trickle-down economics strike me as completely legitimate terms even though they’re mostly used by opponents now, even though all of them except “oligarchy” have been positively used a self-description. I recommend Mirowski’s approach to neoliberalism.

  12. Helen

    What about including “Moral Hazard” itself on the list?

    Any mention of “moral hazard” seems to be limited to its effect on yourself and your neighbors, who might be underwater on their mortgage, ignoring the towering Bankster elephant in the corner who is now incorporating “government bail out” into the business strategy for next time.

  13. nun yerbizness

    how can “dog whistle” be discussed with no mention of Lee Atwater the originator of the modern day dog whistle with his “Southern Strategy”
    that gave us the legacy of Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney and Arthur Laffer?

      1. aet

        using the term “taxpayers” instead of “citizens” disenfranchises any body who doesn’t have an income, whilst it gives equal rights to those entities which are not ctitizens – but which do pay taxes – like corporations or some form of partnerships and trusts.

        Whenever some politician – and it is always the right-wing politicians who do this and further, those so-called “liberals” who do this are thereby revealing themselves as right-wingers, too – starts to talk about the ‘taxpayers’ rather than the citizens, I wonder why they prefer the interests of non-voting corporations and trusts, to those of retired people or children or the poor – you know, the citizenry.

        Just because you don’t pay taxes does not alone make you a non-person. Nor does the simple act of paying taxes give you rights that you otherwise do not have.

        Tax-payers? Why not just call them citizens?

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          aet – start the movement: *We the Citizens* — this would interfere with the *re-positioning* of citizens/the People to *consumers* by the kleptocracy–quite a few of whom hold *dual citizenship*. Would our Founders approve of this?

        2. darms

          Even those without incomes, if they buy anything at all they pay sales taxes. And if they rent they are ultimately paying real estate taxes as well, albeit those of the landlord. Here in Amerikkka, death & taxes are inevitable and which should be acknowledged. Unless you are GE (and others).

          1. LucyLulu

            Exactly. If one uses money, one is paying taxes. For all essential purposes, that includes everybody.

        3. Aquifer

          Of course, one could point out that if it is “taxpayers” they are looking out for, they had best start throwing GE and its ilk under the bus – not only do such not pay taxes, they “steal” (get rebated) those paid by others – at a monumentally higher scale than any “welfare queen” could dream of …

          I suspect this “inconvenient truth” is one they might have to “harumph” about if raised in conversation ….

  14. Bill

    Edward, I think you’re being a little naive with regards to most (not all!) of those ‘dog whistle’ terms.

    1) PIIGS: The PIIGS most certainly did take a massive free ride off the back of the big boy’s (Germany’s) credit rating. And I’m guessing you’ve read Michael Lewis’s articles on Greece and the corruption / bloat there. That’s par.

    2) Technocrat: When has this word ever NOT been perjorative? I have to say, I think it’s pretty much always intended to be perjorative.

    3) Big Government: If the purpose of a bloated gov’t isn’t to provide power to those already in power, what’s its purpose? And *is* the redistribution of wealth legitimate?

    4) Bankster: So when Chuck Prince admitted that the business he was running was stupid but that he was obligated to continue running it that ways because “you gotta get up and dance while the music is still playing”, that statement of his makes you feel like he and his managers weren’t trying rape inept borrowers and/or foolish buyers in the securitization market? Ditto for Blankfein & Co. and Mozillo and Fuld and Jimmy “LOOK AT ME I LIKE BRIDGE AND I SMOKE POT IN BATHROOM STALLS” Cayne, and ALL of the fools who hired consultants to justify levering bank balance sheets 50-to-1. Really, the perjorative ‘code’ behind ‘banksters’ isn’t justified? Edward, people choose to use the word ‘banksters’ precisely because of its nefariousness.

    5) Anschluss economics: I don’t know enough about Herr Anschluss to comment on this one.

    6) Hippie: I agree with you on this one. Well said.

    7) Deficit Terrorist: Haven’t heard this one before.

    8) Trickle-down economics: Agree with you here, too. I don’t think Kudlow & Friends really wants to steal much of anything ‘illegally’ or legally.

    9) Oligarchs: Edward, WTF!!! Have you looked at the list of Congresspeople Mozillo gave money to? Exactly what is the purpose of all those dirty lobbyists? Big Corps donate money, congresspeople solicit money, bills become laws, and the world turns.

    10) Elites: “Eat cake, baby!” Seems perjorative, though I agree that most folks defining Eli Manning as elite do not have a perjorative intention. So maybe this one’s a push.

    Anyway, take care.

    1. Jim Sterling

      The Anschluss (German for “Connection”, or less literally, “Union”) of 1938 was the joining together of Austria and Germany, in what might be called an early Eurozone. The Austrian schilling was replaced by the reichsmark.

  15. bobh

    Ed’s post misses the mark. He needs a different word for the phenomenon he is describing. A “dog whistle” usage is one that intends for a specific audience to hear and understand a specific meaning while the speaker/writer preserves deniability with a general audience about having intended to communicate that meaning, i.e., dogs hear the high-pitched whistle because they hear different frequesncies than other species don’t hear it. When Reagan talked about “welfare Cadillacs” he was dog-whistling to a racist audience that he understood and endorsed their racist assumptions while maintaining his ability to deny that race had anything to do with what he had said. When Newt Gingrich calls OWS people “hippies” or I call the Koch brothers “Oligarchs,” neither of us is dog-whistling. Our words, our positions and our intended meanings are understood by our friends, our foes and by people in the middle.

    1. Roger Bigod

      D’accord. One of the most effective dog whistles was Bush 43’s use of “wonder-working” in a State of the Union address. It’s from a well-known revival hymn and evangelicals caught it instantly, but people on the coasts were puzzled if they noticed it at all.

      A harmless code was Bush 41’s sign off for important speeches like war announcements. It was always some riff on “for God” followed by a variation of “for country” to which the reflex finish for the cognoscenti was “and for farking Yale, twit”.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        So right. Used for the Buckley putsch: For God and YALE.

        But aren’t they one and the same for some? Like for “Sir George Herbert Walker Bush” -knighted by HIS Queen:

        “THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT: from Rhodes to Clivedon” by Carroll Quigley (1949); from Russell and Rhodes to G.H.W. Bush’s “New World Order” (thousand points of light, funded in Academia by The Rhodes Trust).

    2. Binky the Bear

      Yes, like every mention of CRA caused the meltdown really means Democrats made banks give money to n-black* people, Mexicans, and white trash; like every mention of PPACA is called Obamacare and not Romneycare, Dolecare, Chaffeecare, conservative think tank sop to insurance company care, etc.; like every time the right says “inexperienced” about Obama it means n-black affirmative action hire; like every time a conservative mentions God he is just vague enough to allow the religious fanatics who follow him to project their religion on to his statement while avoiding inevitable conflicts between sects (Mormons, Babtists, Catholic/Opus Dei wing, nondenominational Jesus Freak int eh mall).
      *n-black refers to that moment, after the Lee Atwater strategy point, when a conservative politician almost says what he means before he says black for African American.

      1. ScottA

        Ed, I normally like your work, and I have learned a lot from your posts.

        But your use of the term ‘dog whistles’ seems to be a bit off-the-mark today.

        There is something covert or stealthy about dog-whistling – because the person doing the messaging *knows* that most people would be offended, if they actually heard the real message.

        I don’t find any of those terms you cited to be covert or stealthy. They’re quite overt and up-front.

        Yes, they’re also *opinionated* – so people are free to agree or disagree over them. And they’re often vivid or metaphorical.

        But vivid metaphors do not a dog whistle make.

        Only a sneaky metaphors are dog whistles.

        1. Edward Harrison Post author

          Agree with what you’re saying Scott. The original list was ‘code words’ but not they aren’t stealthy enough to be good dog whistles. If you re-read the post now, it reflects this understanding now. I have also added a lot more words which are a lot stealthier.

  16. patricia

    Do you mean words that carry implied rather than straight-forward moral judgment? “Oligarchy”, for eg, is an outright term of judgment. Usage only reveals membership in a particular group. But I may be misunderstanding your intention.

    Maybe also consider:
    –austerity: consequences for regular citizens who have felt entitled to a social safety net and/or have racked up too many debts

    –socialism: “any time a government gives freebies”. My conservative/liberal friends agree that they don’t want “socialism” for corporations or finance, either. Completely messed-up definition loaded with moral truisms.

    —free market: economic structure without regulation, carrying implied judgment of stupidity on both sides of the aisle, but for completely different reasons.

    –fiscal responsibility

    –re “hippy”, there is also a flavor of laziness and free-sex-and-drugs. It is “these kind of people” who are interested in free abortion and morning-after pills, as well as getting rid of the War on Drugs.

  17. patrick

    I would add the term “Class Warfare” = The masses are in danger of realizing they’re being fleeced.

  18. Ishmael

    Humm, the whole article seems like a “coded word”. In other words you are an “extremist nut” if you use these words. Let us take the word Elites. Does anyone argue that there is a big positive spin given to the news so that the population does not hear the truth and pull back from their spinning and borrowing. My definition for the Elites are the people who spin the news in such a manner so that the truth is hidden from the population and not allowing them to make the right decision. The Elites are basically saying “You are not man enough to know the truth.”

  19. paper mac

    LOL- “elites” is a dogwhistle now, the equivalent of political terms justifying institutionalised racism. Are you fucking kidding me?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      AND Glass-Steagall was one good result of Pecora’s hearings, in order to prevent the recurrence of The Great Depression.

      So why does the removal of Glass Steagall indicate INTENT of the banksters to do the same thing all over again, only worse? The removal of Glass Steagall at the behest of Rubin under Clinton (a *Rhodes Scholar*, and YALE Law grad) seems like the *smoking gun* which permitted a *repeat* of bankster looting and fraud: the INTENT to do this. For without the removal of Glass-Steagall, their *repeat/rhyme* of the Crime COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

      The removal of Glass-Steagall was the *sine qua non* of the *repeat/rhyme* of the bankster Crime. Its removal facilitated, therefore shows INTENT, the *repeat/rhyme* of bankster Crime — against the Treasury and the wealth of *We the People/Citizens*.

      Why is this not treason from start to finish?

  20. Jim Sterling

    Free Market: I want you to pay me more for my goods, and if you don’t like it you can do without. That’s fair.

    Wage Inflation: You want me to pay you more for your work, and if I don’t like it you say I can do without. That’s unfair.

  21. Paul Tioxon

    Ed, your devil’s dictionary is exemplary, your striving for self examination as opposed to self absorption is the use of individualism in its highest capacity. I take strong issue with you with the term ELITE. For one reason alone, but this should be sufficient.


    For those of you who do not know of it. Very little work had been done on a sound intellectual basis about power in America. We are unique in the world as we have not had much of the baggage of the old world, in the form of church, aristocracy, military but we did develop money making titans, our captains of industry.

    Your very definition of Elites is a part of the problem, but not for misguiding us or stimulating us to an emotional misdirection. Elite institutions are the basis of what distinguishes the powerful as the legitimate authorities by virtue of their intellectual achievements, the meritocracy. It is the basis upon which we accept the governing over our Republic,the life saving medical operations on our children, or deciding the best place to invest our savings. Nobody wants the worst doctor for their sick kid, nobody brags about their dopey lawyer or rejects whiz kids from starting up the next google in their local town. The triumph of reason, and its attendant institution, the university, is correctly regarded as a source of innovation and progress for modern society.

    It is also the place where elites are developed, socialized and meet with their intellectual equals and recruited for a circulation of elites from the very bottom of society to the very top. See Clinton and Obama. It is also where the privileged wealthy maintain a common world view via socialization and segregation from the more common population. See Kennedy and Bush. In other words, ELITES are indispensable in understand the structure and networks of power which come to dominate much of the social order.
    The word is clearly understood by just about everyone for what it means, no matter the context: The best of the best, those who are at the apex of accomplishment, achievement or nowadays, shear quantity of measure of some meaningful distinction, wealth or fame.

    There is a squeamishness regarding Marxist terms, and now, tired soon to be cliches that communicate nothing more than socialization, and not informed opinion building. The private language of acronyms can erode careful attempts to communicate and develop meaningful analysis. And of course, the crypto coding for only the right thinking to hear and sit up pay attention or hear and go back to the sports page in blissful denial, all problematic dog whistle masquerading as informative journalism or public debate. “Elites” grabs the problem by the horns, no ruling class blowback from the uncomfortable, no mix up with something else. Elites are quite clearly understood by virtually everyone, especially in a political arena like NC.

  22. Proof

    In my opinion you are completely off base with the update on “Morality Play.” A morality play is/was fairly specific form of theatre from the middle ages.

    Use of “Morality Play” as a dogwhistle phrase is, everywhere I have seen it, a reference to the perspective that Germans/creditors are good and Greece/PIGS/debtors are bad.

    The point is usually that this real life situation is NOT a morality play, and that bad lending or currency transfer imbalances are a problem caused by everyone, not just a situation where the debtors are wrong and need to reform or be punished.

    1. Edward Harrison Post author

      Maybe you haven’t been looking in the right places because many accuse the Germans (and adherents of Austrian economics) of a morality play as well in making the ‘PIIGS’ seem slothful and contemptible. It works both ways.

  23. Greg

    Using Anschlussian trickle down economics morality plays, deficit terrorist technocrat hippie bankster oligarch elites in the PIIGS control our big government.

    Yea, I win!

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Zen – A special transmission outside the scriptures; No dependence upon words and letters.

    Dao – The Dao that can be worded is not the eternal Dao (though we note here that Dao De Jing is something like 1,000 worlds long).

    Me – words are very dangerous. Avoid them whenver possible. Try telepathy, Vulcan Mind Meld, body language, facial expressions, anything non-verbal. Above all, keep your writing short.

    1. mansoor h. khan


      Yes. but something is needed to communicate ideas.

      So the story goes:

      Buddha on one occasion (while standing in his normal place where he gave sermons from) simply lifted a “bouquet of flowers” (did not speak any words).

      All the monks in attendance were confused except for Mahakasyapa (who smiled back at the buddha confirming that he had understood the idea). So (it is said) this is how ZEN branch of Buddhism started.

      Most of the time Buddha used words (and probably body language to go with it) and sometimes “bouquet of flowers”.

      also, he was known as the “silent sage”.

      mansoor h. khan

      P.S. My mother was born and lived until age 22 several hours driving distance from his place of death in Uttar Pradesh, India.

        1. mansoor h. khan


          Well since you asked. Here is the story handed down in my family:

          Many generations ago (my mom does not know for sure how many) our ancestors were travelling to go the river ganges (a very sacred river in Hinduism) to perform holy rites and they met a devout muslim who asked them so where are you (my ancestors) going?

          And they told him to perform their holy rites on the river ganges. The devout Muslim said to them: I can show you ganges right here. So he showed them gangs right then and there and the rest is history (at that moment my ancestors accepted Allah as lord of worlds).

          Mansoor H. Khan

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Mansoor, yes, something is needed to communicate ideas.

        That’s why I said, while words are dangeours, try these;


        Vulcan Mind Meld,

        body language,

        facial expressions,

        anything non-verbal.

        Above all, keep your writing short – thus not ruling out words, unlike Dao.

  25. Enzian

    this list doesn’t make any sense. so, first you mix in ‘dog whistles’ from both right and left, but you don’t make it clear which parts you agree or disagree with, making it impossible to parse which parts are supposed to be sarcastic and which earnest. for example, “Technocrat: unelected (and therefore illegitimate) policy maker (from elite institutions isolated from the mainstream and middle classes).” Technocrat is the right-wing term for this, but your translation is clearly your own (accurate) parsing of what the term is trying to AVOID implying. On the other hand, your definition of PIIGS is from the right-wing point of view, unless you actually think italians and greeks are lazy. So this reads like a badly botched “The answer is somewhere in the middle!” Sorry, no it isn’t and I don’t know how this ended up here.

  26. Hugh

    Austerity = dismantling social safety nets and selling off the commons for the benefit of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

    Authorities losing patience = police violence against peaceful demonstrators.

    Bailout = the counterpart of the privatizing of gains by the 1%, i.e. the socialization of their losses, also known as looting of the public purse.

    Bank balance sheet = a kind of financial novel; in any case, a work of fiction.

    Bipartisan = Corporatist party

    Bondholder = the 1%, as in bondholders must be protected and made whole.

    CDS = having matches and gasoline and betting that your neighbor’s house will burn down

    Dark pools = conspiracies to profit from insider information.

    Democratic party = a corporatist party which exploits left wing voters.

    euro = the European counterpart to the great American housing bubble.

    (The) Fed = the banksters’ bank.

    Financial innovation = a fancier name for fraud.

    High frequency trading = computerized frontrunning and stock manipulation.

    Information asymmetries = another fancier name for fraud.

    Kleptocracy = current politico-economic system of elite rule and looting.

    Libertarian economics = “I’ve got mine, you’re on your own.”

    Lobbying = Bribery

    Neoclassical economics = preferred academic cover for kleptocracy.

    Also rational actors, equilibria, Pareto optima, etc., see under unicorn.

    Republican party = a corporatist party which exploits right wing voters.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Hugh, your insights are so keen. Please read the following Rothbard Memo of 1961 and report back to us:

        “ROTHBARD’S CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM TO THE VOLKER FUND, ‘WHAT IS TO BE DONE?'” by Murray N. Rothbard – dated July, 1961 — (14 pp. printed @ 100%) — LINK of 2009:

        Do you think this fits into the category of *conspiracy*?

    1. Chris A

      CDS = having matches and gasoline and betting that your neighbor’s house will burn down

      This one truly made me laugh out loud. Nicely done.

    2. Stratos

      What a great description of Credit Default Swaps (CDS)! This is the first time I’ve seen them defined so succinctly and humorously.

    1. F. Beard


      The usury and counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, claim they are necessary for investment. Not true. Common stock as money allows the necessary consolidation of capital without theft of purchasing power or even honest usury.

      1. EconCCX

        >>Common stock as money allows the necessary consolidation of capital without theft of purchasing power or even honest usury.<<

        F, do you support taxation of capital gains on this stock? A transaction tax? Money flows from hand to hand and account to account without a lot of rigamarole. I'd hate to be a business calculating the basis and ever-changing value of all the stocks proffered as payment, or obliged to unload these cats and dogs on others.

        1. F. Beard

          F, do you support taxation of capital gains on this stock? EconCCX

          No, because it is impossible to fairly calculate the “gains”. Currently, US capital gains are measured in FRNs, which means that a decline in the real value of FRNs causes phony capital gains to be registered.

          A transaction tax? EconCCX

          Sure. Why not? Every private money of consequence will have a free market exchange rate with fiat. Thus sales taxes, transaction taxes and even the income tax are doable in a fair manner with private currencies.

        2. F. Beard

          I’d hate to be a business calculating the basis and ever-changing value of all the stocks proffered as payment, or obliged to unload these cats and dogs on others. EconCCX

          All private currencies of consequence would have a free market exchange rate with fiat. Modern communications allow those exchange rates to be looked up in real-time at the checkout counter.

          1. EconCCX

            >>Modern communications allow those exchange rates to be looked up in real-time at the checkout counter.<<

            They're extremely volatile, and a few hours later the merchant is stuck with something he may not like. It's challenging to keep a chart of accounts in dollars. So long as you're up for the sheer complexity of tracking receipts in each stock-money form, valuing them, and pushing them along to the next player. With no recriminations if they decline in your hands or his. And Mr. Gresham running the table.

          2. F. Beard

            Businesses would be free to accept or reject any private currency they wished Also, I would bet that a great deal of the volatility of common stock is due to the volatility of the quantity and the velocity of the money in our current crooked money system. Not to mention expectations of what the monetary authorities might do.

          3. mansoor h. khan


            True. We would find out what works best if currency freedom was present.

            I actually think (predict) that Since we live longer and need more for our golden years we seek a “safe mutual” fund.

            The safest “mutual fund” is currency itself. If we implement currency freedom (which is perfectly ok with me) we will have lots of private currencies (some issued by private banks, some issued by counties/cities, some issued by states) and of course one issued by the federal government.

            Once the federal government sets up a government bank (and deposit insurance for private banks is revoked) which cannot lend money but only provide a safe storage of deposits and clear checks many, many, many people will see it as a “safe” mutual fund. This will drive demand for the new federal gov currency which means gov will be able to (and it should) spend / or give money away to citizens (i.e., Social credit).

            The fed currency will then become a equity share in the U.S. economy. The hard part will be for the gov then to balance supply and demand (based on the capacity of the economy and control inflation). Deflation is easy to control (spend money and/or give social credit to citizens). The reverse (inflation) is hard to control. Gov spending will have to be reduced and/or taxation increased.

            mansoor h. khan

  27. Ignacio

    COMPETITVITY/COMPETITIVINESS: need to work longer hours and or lower pay. It is needed always and everywhere.

  28. scraping_by

    I hope you’re not trying to resurrect the myth of ideology-free economics. The last forty years did really happen.

    Many of the words you cite aren’t insider codes so much as judgemental, and perhaps, prejudicial. Having lived in Memphis I know the insider codes for “traditional society” and “family values” and “law and order.” Currently, the elites use “chaos” or “disorder” as a code words for dissent. Today OWS, tomorrow NC. God forbid.

    Renaming is necessary. Read your Frantz Fanon. Right now the elite’s ideology just slips by without being noticed. For example, in a recent New York magazine profile of Romney, the journalist ended by claiming Mitty was completely without ideology, just knew how to impose efficiency. Well, “efficiency”, when it’s measured in dollars, consists of the workers working harder and getting less for it, destroying the tax base, seeking public subsidies, and sends the rewards only to the owning segment, is blatantly ideological. Ideological in both means and ends. So it’s time to rename “efficiency” to reflect the wealthy looting and oppressing everyone outside their class.

    The people who agree with the values of the progressive-used half of your list, and disagree with the elite propaganda half, are just now finding each other. Finding each other and starting to connect. OWS is just a beginning on those connections, next comes organization (probably flat and technology-mediated). Then comes the real fun.

  29. Peter T

    I like the update about “Morality play” as in “the economy is not morality play”, for example often by Paul Krugman, as if acting in our world happens in a morality-free zone. Paying taxes is a sacrifice of the fortunate individual for the general welfare and needs morality and moral thought for its justification.

    I use myself the word banksters for Wall Street actors, but I agree that if we encounter those words we should be more careful of context.

    1. Aquifer

      “paying taxes” = “sacrifice” – right wing
      = “responsibility” or “duty” – left wing

  30. Jim

    “All of these terms are morality plays used to influence emotion rather than speak from the voice of reason.”

    What is the voice of reason?

    Are there any independent criteria of historical authenticity?

    What if the preoccupation of the rationalist is with certainty?

    But what if there exist only interpretations?

    But what if all historical analysis can be understood as a normative vision of human life?

    But what if facts are simply relatively unshakeable opinion?

    And what if there is no purely descriptive reading of any situation or event?

    And what if a descriptive statement and a normative statement do not constitue two contrasting categories?

    Then, are we only left with morality plays?

    And what if Shakespeare was right, that playacting is the substance of human reality because there is no script pertaining to the unfolding our lives that we can claim as uniquely our own?

    1. mansoor h. khan


      Some ways of thinking (and doing) will lead to a better result than other ways.

      By better I mean a more peaceful and a more satisfying life. That is the whole point of blogging. At least in this sense truth DOES exist.

      Therefore, all thought systems are NOT equal.

      Mansoor H. Khan

  31. raintonite

    I’m always wary of people who determine that emotion and morality ought to be kept out of discourse, as if human emotion and ethics are somehow a less valid means of expression or just down right primitive responses to real world situations.

    Emotion, allied with an moral framework, are how we suped-up monkies find meaning in our lives.

    As an adult I can identify code words. I can censor essays myself. It’s called critical thinking. If a word or phrase fits, even if it is emotionally charged, I’ll use it or deem it appropriate in an essay I read. (Of course, over reliance on the use of such words is often interpreted by readers that the author is a less than serious writer, but this may have as much to do with the current fad of reductionist thinking as anything else.)

    Likewise, being steeped in quantitative background, I’ve become aware of the limitations of data, charts and so on. Yes, one should base one’s action on facts, as much as they can be interpreted. However, one never has all the facts, such as they are, at one’s disposal, and furthermore many facits of our lives are not determined by facts alone.

    Facts, like time, change or their impacts alter. Life is not a rationally reductive exercise. There is an active space between the rational and emotional, or maybe it’s simply a dynamic interaction that defines our understanding. How many times have we seen an individual act supposedly irrational only to realise that there was a method in their madness?

    So, yes, I have a simmering rage against the banksters, and with good cause. I don’t go around muttering bankster everyday, nor do I throw stones a bankers. Instead, I don’t use their services. I grow my own vegitables; make do and mend. I spend less every year on corporate goods. I search for alternatives to the rationalist, reductionist and meaningless culture discourse that prevails.

    Bankers, corporate elites and government officials are all very utilitarian in their use of data and facts, and very good at asking us, who bear the brunt of their seemingly rationalist rhetoric, to react only through what they deem to be acceptable, rationalist discourse. My overwhelming emotional reply is one of pure disgust, and my moral reaction is a desire to abandon their weary discourse and the resultant warped meanings and outcomes that they so lovingly craft to ensure their continued survival at the cost of sucking meaning out of the rest of everyone else’s lives. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    1. scraping_by

      I’m always wary of people who determine that emotion and morality ought to be kept out of discourse, as if human emotion and ethics are somehow a less valid means of expression or just down right primitive responses to real world situations.

      Antonio R. Damasio: _Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain_

  32. T.U.I. Frietag

    Crony Capitalism
    Big Labor
    Special Interest Groups
    (economic) Experts
    Job Creators
    Long-term unemployed
    Emerging Markets
    Underdeveloped World

  33. melior

    I agree with many here that the worst offender by far in the business media this year is “austerity”. Code meant to signal that socializing losses while privatizing gains is “socially responsible” behavior.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Austerity” has come to mean: The imposition of “The Shock Doctrine” on the global 99% to yield *MORE* power, real property, and natural resources to the 1% DNA sets.

  34. JTFaraday

    So, when alleged critical economists and would-be technocrats, (who also happen to claim that they’ve plumbed the depths of pie charts and bar graphs far better then their benighted fellows), state that “‘people’ aren’t rational actors,” what’s that a dog whistle for?

  35. ScottA

    you left one out:

    “vampire squid”

    and also:

    “morality play”


    Economics is about money and people.

    So maybe it’s actually better to talk about it using emotional language.

    It’s not like the Black-Scholes formula has been a great success, after all, in the long run.

  36. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Edward Harrison ALERT: new stock to ponder:

    “The Real History of ‘Corporate Personhood’: Meet the Man to Blame for Corporations having More Rights Than You” by Jeffrey Clements on on Dec 6, 2011: NOTE: the date and the NAME: “In 1971, Lewis Powell: a mild-mannered, courtly, and shrewd corporate lawyer in Richmond Virginia, soon to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, wrote a memorandum to his client, the Unites States Chamber of Commerce. He outlined a critique and a plan that changed America….”
    LINK below may be good:

    “ROTHBARD’S CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM TO THE VOLKER FUND, ‘WHAT IS TO BE DONE?'” by Murray N. Rothbard – dated July, 2011 (LIBERTARIAN PAPERS: VOL. 1, ART.NO.3 (2009) — N.B. crux on p. 2 of 14:
    “Here we stand, then a ‘hard core’ of libertarian-individualist ‘revolutionaries,’ anxious not only to develop our own understanding of this wonderful system of thought, but also anxious to spread its principles–and its policies–to the rest of society. How do we go about it?”

    These two gentlemen have something in common.

    Mr. Harrison, in your savvy way, connect the above with:
    “DARKWATER: Voices From Within the Veil” by W.E.B. Du Bois;
    “SONG OF SOLOMON” by Toni Morrison;
    “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination” by Toni Morrison;
    “THE MIND OF THE MASTER CLASS: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview” by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese; and
    “FRUITS OF MERCHANT CAPITAL: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism” by Fox-Genovese and Genovese.
    I came from this Master Class, but got wise. I reject their philosophy of *righteous life*.

    At issue is the way our “NOBILITY” uses WORDS to justify their “noble” deeds, “among friends,” is it not? As Toni Morrison and George Soros have asked: “What’s wrong with America?” Do you know? Does it have to do with words?

    Do you think there is a Global Fourth Reich of the 1%? If so, who is of the *American NOBILITY*? Is Barack Obama?

    With all due respect, I await your reply, whenever you formulate it. I expect to be enlightened. Thank you.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Ed Harrison, ERROR above: Rothbart piece dated July, 1961, NOT July, 2011.

      “July, 1961” is the correct, original date of the Memo.

      “July, 2011” is flat wrong.

      So sorry. Apparently the piece was posted online in 2009.

      1. LucyLulu

        Can I ask you a question? Is English your second language? I ask given your nickname and your European references. And because if English is your second language? Well hot damn, lady!………Few Americans can claim the same command of the English language. (You must be either an attorney or a writer.) :=)

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          English is my first language. My *higher education* is European. My *real education* is from books, film, ardent listening and observation.

  37. ScottA


    The term “dog whistle” means cloaking a message (which the message-senders presume would offend most listeners) in hopefully less-offensive, innocuous-sounding, catchy terms. It is a stealth tactic to get your message out publicly, while at the same time avoiding TOO MUCH publicity (or scrutiny).

    But the defining part of a “dog whistle” is the ‘stealth’ part – not the ‘catchy’ part.

    (Kinda like those underground crank right-wing emails you sometimes hear about. The people circulating them, in their little cellar-dwelling internet underground, know if they said that shit in the light of day on a blog, it would get ripped to shreds.)

    Unlike sneaky stealthy dog whistles, words like “bankster” and “vampire squid” stand loud and proud. They do not aim to use stealth at all. They openly mean what they mean, they imply what they imply. They want everyone to get “get” the message – not just some tiny audience.

    Early examples of a “dog whistle” in American politics were “welfare queen” and “soft on crime”. These were coded messages developed by Republican operatives who hoped to play on racism among their voting base.

    So I don’t think words like “bankster” qualify as dog whistles at all.

    (But the word “morality play”, which Ed uses, probably does. If I recall my high-school social studies correctly, it implies some kind of medieval sideshow used to dupe and mislead the common folk. So right here, Ed seems to be using rather loaded language to imply that people for whom the word “bankster” might resonate are somehow being… conned.)

    A word like “bankster” (or “vampire squid”… or “econned”) is not stealth: it is in-your-face, and intentionally so.

    These are clever, overt, effective metaphors which make no attempt to hide anything.

    Quite to the contrary, they aim to persuade openly and honestly, by explicitly trying to get people to consider the notion that perhaps the people running our economic system really are just a bunch of shady gangsters out to suck our blood.

    Words like “banksters” and “vampire squid” and “econned” are some of the most brilliant coinages we’ve seen in the past few years of discourse about economics.

    They are a much-needed antidote to the slow anodyne drip of our venomous mainstream economic discourse.

    They are not dog whistles at all.

    They are alarm bells.

  38. B2

    I was wondering if a suggested reading list has ever been published on this site or linked to that would would serve as a primer on economics. If so, please direct me to it.

  39. LucyLulu

    Another ‘must-include’ term that has had its meaning twisted to attach blatantly negative connotations, but now has reached widespread use and acceptance: entitlements

    And note how social security, which has been fully paid for by beneficiaries, has become lumped into the heap of “unearned social handouts” included in social supports included in what is referred to as entitlements. IIRC, the use of the word “entitlements” came as a result of suggestions made to the Republican Party by messaging experts, as was “job creators”.

    1. Peter T

      Dean Baker suggested using instead “entitlements” the more accurate “earned benefits”. (That does not mean, however, that medical costs would not need a brake.)

  40. darms

    This post of yours I find confusing & contradictory unlike most of what you post here. Maybe I can help via an example:
    Moral hazard = a (bad) policy choice which gives someone, some institution or some group within society a break (which they don’t deserve and therefore encourages them to free-ride and mooch off of society)
    No. ‘Moral hazard’ only occurs when a 99%er gets relief, either on a debt or via UI or Medicaid or TANF. And the only reason it’s a ‘bad thing’ is that it does benefit a 99%er. When Citibank gets $1T in bailout funds they can pay bonuses off of, that’s called something else, maybe ‘patriotic duty’ or some other such bull shit. A bunch of people in this thread have correctly defined ‘dog whistle’, it’s words only understood by a small percentage of the listening group because of their inside knowledge. And BTW, there are no ‘left-wing’ memes in current financial discussions these days. None whatsoever.

  41. Christophe

    Like the phrase “au contraire” usually modifying a comment that neither gives nor intends a contrary viewpoint, but rather defends an insecure position. More a bluff with a swagger. Interesting. Lexical borrowing in the English language.

  42. gf

    How about this one.

    “Credible plan”

    As in austerity in the only plan of credibility possible with regard to the Euro Zone or the US for that matter. You here it a 100 times a day on certain news outlets.

  43. hanrahan

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    Hi gang, I couldn’t resist this challenge.

    My personal favorite is Labour Market Flexibility.

    It sounds like such a motherhood and apple pie statement…. “We could use some more labour market flexibility if we want to be competitive in a globalised market”

    It flew past me a number of times before I twigged what it really meant was lowering the wages and conditions of workers so they were “more in line with our global competitors” (ie sweatshops in Shanghai)

    It’s a perfect example of newspeak.
    Labour = good
    Markets = good
    Flexibility = good

    So Labour Market Flexibility = Triple plus good!

  44. UnBeliever

    I’m really surprised Edward feels the need to write this article. You can hardly read a newspaper without getting some of this intellectual mud splattered on your thinking. But it’s a bit lightweight and a bit self-congratulatory by the usual NC standards. If this is the calibre of analysis the left can apply, then it’s no surprise the right has been so successful at owning the language of public debate for the last decade.

    Where are the countervailing memes? Why has “trickle-down” not become sullied in the public discourse as the dirty shorthand for noblesse oblige that it actually is?

    Where’s the cogent deconstruction, destruction in fact is called for, of the bogus-ness of economics? Yves has done great work on this, but I fear the fight needs to be taken further. We need biased terminology to insert into discussion to skew the debate in our favour. We need to get over ourselves and thinking we’re clever for seeing what the languange “really means”. We need to stop fighting fair.

  45. Hal Roberts

    Trickle Down Stimulus (strategy): To boost employment in the US by the FED. A revers play on the natural flow of profit in US society, which removes the immediate need for a consumer or Labor by giving investors false profits to keep their Mouths Shut.

    A foreign economic model harmful to the United States of America and counter to the FED mandate to create jobs in the USA.

  46. b.

    How about “inbred wealth”? Does that need to be policed as well?

    Self-reinforcing wealth? The Money Singularity? How would you like to have it “reasoned”? How do we put the proper amount of “reasoning” on that shit sandwich?

  47. drs

    “that is illegitimate because morality is bad or at least shouldn’t be a prevailing policy concern and because logic is always superior to emotion as a way of getting a response”

    I’d say “that is illegitimate because people are being blamed for moral failings when system flaws are actually at work”. Along with distortion of facts or outright lies, and victim-blaming. E.g. saying the euro crisis is all about PIIGS excessive borrowing when several of the governments were running budget surpluses and core capital was basically throwing itself at the periphery, causing regional inflation. The ‘morality play’ is the story about periphery borrowing and it’s wrong because it’s wrong on the facts.

  48. H. Skip Robinson

    Telling the truth should not make someone suspicous of a writer. We are a fascist oligarchy in the truest sence of the word yet this author seems to fear the truth if it invokes emotion. I can also give, as many before me, logical reasons and historical facts as to why all governments, including democratic republics and direct democracies always fail over time. Why 150 million people, in the 20th century alone, where killed by their own governments. Add in the military conflicts, and I would say that government creates chaos. We need to change the definition of chaos from “without” Government to Government. Choas=Government, coming to a community near you.

  49. Aquifer

    Two words, the deification of which has, IMO, done more damage than perhaps that of any other are “productivity” and “efficiency”.

    In the Business uber alles religion of our times, these are the cardinal virtues.

    I used to ask, for intended shock purposes, of folks who cited these approvingly as ultimate values and arbiters of any program/policy’s worth, what they thought of Auschwitz as a business model: after all, it was very “efficient”, low overhead, and “productive”, lots of “product” with few man hours – as long as you didn’t care what it “produced”

    There will always be “virtues” and “vices” – the question is whose will they be and what systems will they justify and perhaps we could use as a way of deciding which camp they are in – what do they “produce” when we utilize or follow them ….

    On a slightly different tack – in HS debating one is trained to “define the terms” of the proposition to be debated, all the terms, including sometimes “all”. Until one does that and “all” (i.e those in the discussion) agree on the definitions, one can not even begin.

    The next step is to ferret out where connotation departs from denotation, and that, it seems to me is what we are really talking about here. I had an exchange the other day on this site with someone in which i used the term “blue collar folk”. I was jumped on by someone who apparently felt that i was using it contemptuously as “code” for inferior beings. That was not my intent at all, but now, because, apparently, the phrase is used by some to imply that and others understand it is so, if i use it I will be assumed to be speaking in code.

    Watch out, folks, (yes, I like the word “folks”, it is a “good” word for me), this “code” stuff can be a slippery slope as well – any word or phrase can be “code” at one time or other for anything. If one allows someone to determine/dictate that a word or phrase is code, that means folks can’t use it to mean anything else, or will do so at their peril. I prefer to query the speaker – “what do you mean? ….”

    I suggest there may be another way to handle this stuff, rather than abandoning perfectly good words or being forced to use new ones for the same thing. For example, “entitlements” – it is spit out by the Right as synonymous with “undeserved handouts”, but it could just as easily be synonymous with “just return on a life long investment in the system”. One could do this with so many others. It is not just our government we need to take back, it is our language, as well …

    I refuse to abandon a word because someone else has insisted on claiming property rights to it –

    1. F. Beard

      For example, “entitlements” – it is spit out by the Right as synonymous with “undeserved handouts”, Aquifer

      Such as their own pet counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, by which they steal purchasing power from the poor and are now upset if the poor and are not allowed to starve or freeze?

      “These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless also turn aside the way of the humble; … Amos 2:7

    2. F. Beard

      Two words, the deification of which has, IMO, done more damage than perhaps that of any other are “productivity” and “efficiency”. Aquifer

      The problem is that the productivity and efficiency were financed with stolen purchasing power and as a result the benefits of productivity and efficiency are not fairly shared.

      1. skippy

        “stolen] – purchasing power” – Beard

        That is, in my book, a phrase the needs to be relegated to the dust bin.

        Skippy… purchasing power… barf.

          1. mansoor h. khan


            do you mean carrying capacity of the planet? Population?

            I have explained this to you before that:

            Effective Utility of Physical Resources on the Planet =

            Engineering Creativity (think iphone) X Management Creativity (Just Sharing of the “good” stuff”) X Actual Physical Resources on the Planet

            We need to work on both (Engineering Creativity and Management Creativity).

            Is success guaranteed? Is is not!

            Here is what is my mental model:

            When moses got to the red sea and was stopped. He asked god to help him. And god ask him to do his part first. In the biblical version God asked him to raise his staff. In the Quranic version god asked moses to “stir” the read sea with his staff (which he did). And the rest is history.

            Ok. I realize we may not make it (on earth) but I am hoping to make it on the day of judgement (god willing).

            Even if you don’t believe in after life. All you can do is come of with some ideas and sell them and try them.

            Mansoor H. Khan

        1. F. Beard

          a phrase the needs to be relegated to the dust bin. skippy

          When banks lend, the “loans create deposits.” But where does the purchasing power for the new deposits come from? It comes from every other money holder including and especially the poor who are not usually considered creditworthy themselves.

          Banking is the dirty little secret of the elites including leftists who don’t object to the theft but merely want their cut so they can spend the poor’s purchasing power on what they think is good for the poor.

          1. Skippy

            Magic words with as many meanings as there are minds.

            Skippy…progressive, lefty, socialist, are just more magic words. Try human.

          2. mansoor h. khan


            agreed. human is a great start. You are on the right path.

            You are greater closer to the principle of unity. Wonderful.

            Now. Think about how should we deal with evil?

            mansoor h. khan

          3. F. Beard

            Try human. skippy

            Why don’t you? Some are trying to prevent Great Depression II and WW III while you snipe at them.

            And what is your plan besides obstruction?

          4. skippy

            Those that wrap themselves in unbending mental (only) absolutes, by which they color a world, demand and not offer.

            Skippy… the future is a hard slog when you carry the past. Your solutions are repetition of the past, you can never go back.

            PS. Greabers book and expand search OR do you have_all_the data.

          5. F. Beard

            Your solutions are repetition of the past, skippy

            When has the entire population been bailed out equally? Never?

            you can never go back. skippy

            When has common stock been widely used as a private money form? Never?

            As for David Graeber, I hope he will soon post here and present his solution. As for his book, I bought it, but I’m not much in the reading mood.

          6. Skippy


            Completely OT, besides perfection is a emotional state of mind. Go talk to drug addicts chaining it.


            Because people can see the open door to all kinds of fraud inherent in it.

            “As for his book, I bought it, but I’m not much in the reading mood.” – Beard. Willingness to blindness is not a good indicator to logical thought process… but, belief does that to the mind or is it just a repository of belief[s.

          7. mansoor h. khan


            Skippy, dude. what do you do for fun? Married? Got kids? Emotions are ok.

            Fun and emotions are good and part of the creation can create positive teamwork (and also negative teamwork).

            I pray, I inform and try to stay informed, I contribute (work etc.), and then ask him to bless my efforts and I also have little fun along the way.

            The way I see it The point of this life is to have fun and point next life is also to have fun.


            1) This life: limited fun (self imposed restrictions and restrictions imposed by others and by physics). Some of the restrictions imposed by others are unjust. So we blog and inform so we can try to right these wrongs.

            2) Next life: There is only one restriction (can’t be him otherwise anything goes!).

            Mansoor H. Khan

          8. F. Beard

            the future is a hard slog when you carry the past. skippy

            Let’s hear your ideas, skippy, and see how much baggage you carry from the past.

            As for Graeber’s book, I’ll get to it but I also have (bought) Steve Keen’s book plus Minsky’s plus Henry George’s. But currently my free time is spent watching “Connections” by James Burke. Yum!

          9. Skippy


            You live in a Universe that (you think) recognizes your desires, I do not.

            The personal quires are deflective. The topic was vaporous quasi religious terminology ie. purchasing power, utility, rational economics et al and its impediment to logical metrics like carrying capacity.


          10. mansoor h. khan


            “You live in a Universe that (you think) recognizes your desires, I do not.”

            But that does not mean we cannot live peacefully together in the same community/country.

            Even more: If you show me a better way for anything I will consider it.

            mansoor h. khan

  50. Skippy

    The fact the two of your have little or no exposure these ideals, if that is the case, speaks volumes.

    Skippy…antiquity is full of mans hubris – greatness… self awarded thingy. No impediment is allowed or to be discussed is a vulnerability and not a strength… in acute observation. See Yves.

    1. F. Beard

      The fact the two of your have little or no exposure these ideals, if that is the case, speaks volumes. skippy

      Baloney. The truth is that with energy (unlimited when fusion is perfected) + technology (unlimited in principle and experience) + matter (unlimited,) anything that man needs can be created.

      As for living space, a great deal of the earth is uninhabited and when that is filled we can build up and down. And when that is filled there is the Solar System.

      But skippy, what are your solutions besides counseling despair?

      1. mansoor h. khan

        F. Beard,

        You are not being fair to skippy we also need:

        1) peace

        2) security

        3) rule of law

        4) access to raw materials

        5) clean air

        6) clean fresh water

        7) management knowledge (dispensing of justice)

        8) engineering knowledge (thirst to learn how the universe works)

        9) a culture that values justice/fairness

        10) wisdom to balance (justice vs. mercy/forgiveness) – a
        culture that is not too mean to its people and other people

        11) a culture possessing a worldview which will keep it people from committing suicide when things go REALLY wrong (natural disasters or man-made screw-ups)

        12) Sufficient right brain orientation (philosophical / artistic to allow for creativity to come forth)

        mansoor h. khan.

          1. skippy

            Exhibit *A* above. “Our problems are not physical but moral.”

            Do you have anything to back that up with but assumptions.

            Skippy… repeat… antiquity is full of mans hubris – greatness… self awarded thingy. No impediment is allowed or to be discussed is a vulnerability and not a strength… in acute observation.

          2. mansoor h. khan

            Skippy said:

            “No impediment is allowed or to be discussed is a vulnerability and not a strength…”

            You are not being fair to us.

            You have not properly accounted for human creativity in your thinking.

            mansoor h. khan

          3. skippy

            “You have not properly accounted for human creativity in your thinking.” Mansoor.

            Look at the state of things, creativity abounds: derivative financing, GOM, Fookemshima, Monsanto, mono AG, 200,000+ man-made chemicals that have never been tested for significant time periods or in combinations, landmines litter the earth – depleted uranium shells too, over fishing, mining the sea floor (including vents) out off sight out of mind, rape of undeveloped country’s for resource extraction (unmitigated pollution oops), Industry set up for the production of rubbish consumerist manufactured desire piffle, shipping product[s half way around the world when manufacture could be local (wage hate), Millions murdered is senseless wars, etc, could expand ad infini, but you get the point. Sorry potable water scarcity – and increasing.

            Skippy…what was the bit about optimists not being so good about pragmatic reality, in NC’s not so distant past. hay if you need something to worship try the human being too the left and right of ya. Better yet, instead of looking up, try looking down between your feet. At least there its not an opinion. Cheers.

          4. mansoor h. khan

            skippy said:

            I agree with you actually insofar as human creativity is (currently) being used to enslave, kill, destroy the ecosystem, etc.

            But even you will have to admit that all of our problems are solvable to a sufficient degree if same creative energy is redirected to create goodness rather than badness.

            At this point all I can do is pray for guidance for me, you, america and humanity.

            mansoor h. khan

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