During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt looked for solutions that would place “the security of the men, women and children of the nation first.” He said that all Americans “want decent homes to live in; they want to locate them where they can engage in productive work; and they want some safeguards against misfortune which cannot be wholly eliminated in this man-made world of ours.”
Today, both the president and members of Congress talk about “improving our fiscal situation,” “achieving financial sustainability,”
As two leading academics put in a recent New York Times essay, “the desperate situation of many Americans (is) reduced to the clinical language of budgetary accounting.”
The language of economics and individualism has replaced the language of our common circumstances and shared risks. That’s why what used to be considered social insurance is now noted as “entitlements,”
In the highly emotional issue of illegal immigration, we also see dehumanizing language. Just look at the now-common term “illegals.”
As a writer of corporate reports and speeches, I see plenty of this dehumanizing language in the business world – and I try to steer my clients away from it. At a time when companies are cutting workforces, for example, phrases like “workforce imbalance correction,”
Even if the economic news is bad, let’s respect our fellow citizens and talk about policies with some humanity and simple language. Sure, we need to use technical terms and data to work through the very complex economic mess we’re in. But when decisions are based solely on numbers and calculations, we tend to leave flesh-and-blood people, families and shared social concerns out in the cold.
Press Release by: http://coldfireinc.com
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