Don't Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy (Hardcover)

The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy

By Anat Shenker-Osorio

PublicAffairs, 9781610391771, 222pp.

Publication Date: September 25, 2012

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Description

After everything that's happened, how is it possible that conservatives still win debates about the economy? Time and again the right wins over voters by claiming that their solutions are only common sense, even as their tired policies of budgetary sacrifice and corporate plunder both create and prolong economic disaster. Why does the electorate keep buying what they're selling? According to political communications expert Anat Shenker-Osorio, it's all about language--and not just theirs, but ours.

In Don't Buy It Shenker-Osorio diagnoses our economic discourse as stricken with faulty messages, deceptive personification, and, worst of all, a barely coherent concept of what the economy actually is. Opening up the business section of most newspapers or flipping on cable news unleashes an onslaught of economic doomsaying that treats the economy as an ungovernable force of nature. Alternately, by calling the economy "unhealthy" or "recovering" as we so often do, we unconsciously give it the status of a living being. No wonder Americans become willing to submit to any indignity required to keep the economy happy. Tread lightly, we can't risk irritating the economy

Cutting through conservative myth-making, messaging muddles, and destructive misinformation, Shenker-Osorio suggests a new way to win the most important arguments of our day. The left doesn't have to self-destruct every time matters economic come to the fore--there are metaphors and frames that can win, and Shenker-Osorio shows what they are and how to use them.

Don't Buy It is a vital handbook for seizing victory in the economic debate. In the end, it convincingly shows that radically altering our politics and policies for the better is a matter of first changing the conversation--literally.


About the Author

Anat Shenker-Osorio is a strategic communications consultant based in Oakland, CA. She crafts messaging for issues from immigration to contraception and completed research on how people make sense of and come to judgments about the economy. Anat has worked with the ACLU, Ms Foundation, America's Voice, Ford Foundation and dozens of others, presenting findings to members of Congress, and as a keynote speaker at Netroots Nation. This is her first book.


Praise For Don't Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy

Kirkus
“A persuasive case for retooling how activists think and talk about matters of the wallet.”

Daily Kos
"Shenker-Osorio, who's been fighting in the trenches of the word wars for years as a communications consultant to the ACLU, the MS. Foundation, America's Voice and dozens of other progressive groups, knows her stuff. Don't Buy It is a great handbook to start thinking about how to change the conversation, particularly on the economy."

Village Voice“Anat Shenker-Osorio offers…one choice bit of invaluable advice: Stop talking about the economy like it's a tide that lifts, a body that ails, or an invisible hand that guides our collective fortune like whatever it is that moves the Ouija thing. It's the Lakoff and Johnson Metaphors We Live By argument—the one that goes that saying “time is money” conditions us to conceive of time as something that must be shrewdly spent or hoarded—smartly applied to the failure of progressive writers and policy-makers to make a broad, compelling case against Tea Party deficit hawks. Shenker-Osorio's prescription is to stop thinking of the economy as some organic and independent system that we can only affect by prescriptions—or bloodletting. Instead, she contends, we should consider it a construction that we can control, something concrete and knowable that works for us rather than vice versa”.

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