So many ways to say we’re in trouble
Without an Inuit thesaurus I have no way of checking how many words the Eskimos really have for snow, but each day’s newspapers reveal just how large a lexicon we have for an economy going into reverse. Recession, depression, downturn, decline, disinflation, slump, slowdown, squeeze, freeze, meltdown, bust, crash, crunch, collapse, for starters. But when the economy was booming the only word we heard was, well, boom.I could add in all those euphemisms beloved by ministers such as ‘testing times’ and ‘difficult conditions’, but why are there so many terms for a shrinking economy but such little choice when it grows? We even invent new words like ‘hyperflation’ and ‘stagflation’ to add colour to the bad times, but if ‘deflation’ is another negative term, ‘inflation’ is not its positive opposite.