Mainstream Economic Rhetoric, Ideology and Institutions
The purpose of this essay is to provide an alternative approach to studying the rhetoric of policy-oriented economics suggesting that the range of economic-policy possibilities is conditioned by the rhetoric of economics. To this end, Martin Feldstein's pro-privatization rhetoric will be compared to that of President Bush. In doing so, we will aim at showing that just as the political rhetoric of Social Security invokes the authority of "ideographs" such as personal ownership to draw on a society's ideological and cultural repertoire, economic rhetoric undertakes a similar task by employing "economic ideographs" like deadweight loss to resonate with fellow economists through an appeal to the implicit normative premises embedded in the language of economics.
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