The Economy as Machine
By Arnold Kling
But when she turned to private discussions with 21 leading progressive economists, she was delighted to find a much more coherent use of one particular metaphor. The dominant metaphor in public discourse is a conservative one – the economy as body – with implications that tend toward passivity and acceptance of whatever ills there may be. The dominant progressive metaphor – the economy as machine, particularly a vehicle – has opposite implications towards action, and taking steps to fight against economic disasters.
She is “Anat Shenker-Osorio, a cognitive linguist who trained at UC-Berkeley with George Lakoff.”
If the economy is a machine, then perhaps it can be tuned by skilled mechanics. If it is not a machine, perhaps those skilled mechanics will get things wrong. It is not surprising that progressives think in terms of the machine metaphor, while others of us do not think in those terms.