The science of economics is a product of the industrial age, so the language used by economists seems to be archaic. Many of the tools used to manage modern economies are industrial age tools, and Western Society is accustomed to framing economic matters in mechanical terms. We often hear the words “tools”, “jump start”, “prime”, and “lever” used when the economy is being discussed. Words that one might expect a mechanic to use. Yet, if an economy is the sum total of millions of individual’s economic actions, and individuals can become “fatigued”, “burdened”, or “ill” could it not be that that we should be using a different vocabulary to describe the sum total of these individual’s behaviors?
We are entering into a new age, and the way of managing our economies needs to evolve. While global population increase is still on a geometric growth trend, resource production and energy are not. Would it not therefore be to our advantage to employ a framework that is able to prescribe a “rebuilding” period for an economy, or perhaps a time for “rest” while “strengthening”? In such a world we could then expect to hear “enthusiastic performance”, “stable cadence”, “sustainable” or other such terms to describe an economy.
Of course this would pose some challenges for those that are accustomed to pulling levers, increasing stimulus, and directing spending. But at some point the undeniable reality that it is individuals that make up the aggregate demand of an economy becomes more apparent. While they can as a group be cajoled into spending more some of the time, it’s unlikely that they can all be so managed all of the time. Eventually the group’s behavior becomes totally unpredictable. A better approach would be to embrace an evolving economic framework and language. After all, the economy is not a machine.