Smart politicians know: if you repeat a statement over and over, no matter how ridiculous it is, it will be remembered and something of it will remain. The master of this tactic is former US President Donald Trump, who, for example, usually refers to his opponent during the election campaign as a “crooked Hillary”, that is, a woman who cannot be trusted. Or by Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe.”
When it comes to economic issues, there is one more thing. It can also speak of developments, desirable but above all undesirable. The fact that something is lodged in the subconscious through spell-like spells can have tangible economic implications. Against this background, the strange controversy over the term “stagnation” can be seen, which is currently occurring in the English-language edition of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
subordinate article about it It has been edited many times by unregistered users in the past few days. This in and of itself would not be unusual. After all, Wikipedia’s goal is to use the knowledge of the many, the so-called swarm intelligence. But now, registered and experienced Wikipedians have prevented the article from being edited by unregistered users until August 4. Because users usually don’t just change around without commenting, they discuss potential changes on the discussion page provided for this. But this is criminally ignored here, for political reasons, it can be assumed.
Background: Disagreement rages in the United States over whether the country is in a recession. The Democrat-run White House would like to avoid the bad word. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also uses it sparingly – knowing full well that every word she says, sometimes said or not, is carefully analyzed and evaluated. The political opponent, of course, Republicans, wants to make Biden’s Democratic government appear in the worst possible light. This political dispute has now also been transferred to the stage of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. While Biden’s side does not want anything to do with economic stagnation, his opponents argue in the opposite direction. But who is he now?
Shortly before the new US GDP figures were announced, a “recession” was defined in a very brief way
The term stagnation itself comes from the Latin. verb to retreat It means to withdraw and withdraw. When applied to the economy, it initially seems clear what this means: if economic output falls, the economy is in the opposite state, i.e. in recession. So Biden’s opponents would be right. The definition often heard is that when economic output falls for two consecutive quarters, there is a recession.
However, experts are not entirely in agreement. Leading economic researchers in Germany calculate somewhat differently. They first calculate what the economy can actually achieve and compare it to what will emerge later – as Helmut Kohl said. In scientific German, what would be possible is called production potential. If the economy has fallen below its potential for two consecutive quarters, researchers at leading economic institutes are talking about a recession.
Various definitions have always been given on Wikipedia, but shortly before the expected publication of new US GDP figures, the introduction to the encyclopedia article said in a very simplistic manner: “Economists usually look at two consecutive declines in GDP compared to a recession.” However, no suitable paragraph was found in the main text, and the claim was not supported by the source. When Wikipedia editors deleted the clip, it reappeared shortly thereafter, several times in a row. That’s why the editors put an end to ghosting and only allowed changes to registered users.
Opinion wars are not uncommon on Wikipedia. However, they are not usually made by unauthorized changes without prior consultation or discussion, but rather on discussion pages. Therefore, the suspicion arises that political opponents of the Biden government are trying to harm him. Anyone who hears the word “stagnation” in the news and searches for it briefly on Wikipedia should think it’s settled. But this can also be seen as influencing the electorate through the dictionary.
Correction: An earlier version of this text erroneously referred to Janet Yellen as Chair of the Federal Reserve. She is now the Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden government.
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