Economics and its love affair with jargon

The above clip is an excerpt from a Michael Moore documentary poking satirical fun out of the lack of clarity so prevalent within economics dialogue. Whilst I might have found this slightly humorous when I watched the documentary during college (ages 16-18), after my entry into the world of academic economics with no prior experience, it hit home a bit harder. Since embarking on this journey, I often feel as though I have spent longer trying to decode and grapple with the definitions of economics terms and phrasing than I have needed to spend on actually understanding the underlying concepts. All of this is from the perspective of a student who has had access to good quality education and academic support throughout her 20 years of living as well as being a student who pretty consistently performs well and indulges in the use of excessively technical phrasing (to my detriment) from time to time. I mean, maybe it's just a Monday evening but I, an economics student, feel tired just reading stuff like this:
Late on Wednesday night, the governing council of the ECB decided that it would no longer accept Greek sovereign debt as collateral for its loans. Greece’s junk-rated bonds had been the subject of a “waiver”, where the central bank accepted sovereign and bank debt as security in return for cheap ECB funding.
According to research from the Post Crash Economics society at Manchester University, 60% of the 1500 students asked were unable to choose the correct answer for defining GDP whilst almost half could not identify what the budget deficit was. These terms are commonly used in media reporting, so if these definitions are ill-defined in the public eye, passages like the excerpt above are unlikely to feel particularly enlightening. Michael Moore makes the critique that the confusion of such terminology is intentional, meant to make you switch off and lose interest so you do not really know what is going on, and certainly when financial and economic terms are explained and illustrated in the format used by films such as the Big Short, it is scary to see how little we know and how angry it should make us sometimes.
If critique is limited to the upper echelons of discussion, doesn't it all feel a bit shady and elitist? If we want more people to engage with subjects like economics, the first step should be to reduce the barriers to accessibility. Maybe this way more people could become interested in economics and not yawn involuntarily when they see the word inflation in an article or zone out and nod along when someone grumbles about fiscal policy. We need to democratise economics! This is part of what we are trying to do in this blog, making economics seem doable, exciting and applicable to so much more than financial trends or Brexit predictions (but also these things). Whilst maybe part of the motivation behind this blog post is me tired of struggling through another economic concept, I think the point remains valid, and there is a lot more to gain than my individual time spent on studying (although I wouldn't be mad about that either).

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