Beneficial To The Economy

Recently Analysis came across this description of “Jonathan Swift’s attitude toward what he names his modest proposal “for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public” by establishing a criterion for separating out a portion of the children at a certain point of their lives to be prepared as food.” The author had used it to emphasize “how close our treatment of the helpless can come to Swift’s proposals.” Jonathan Swift was an early 18th century English satirist and acerbic social critic. Most Americans know him through a Disneyesque lense of Gulliver and the Lilliputans, as a writer of children’s stories. Almost all of his vast publications were done under a pseudonym or anonymously, something quite common and accepted in the years prior to the American Revolution. The Newark Advocate has a strict policy against publishing anything of the kind (Even though J K Rowling pulled it off, for a brief while at least. The Newark Advocate would have made an exception to THAT, if only they’d known ahead of time!).

 

The quotation would read quite differently if it were modified to be like this:

Jonathan Swift’s attitude toward what he names his modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the economy by establishing a criterion for separating out a portion of the children at a certain point of their lives to be prepared as food. How close our treatment of the helpless can come to Swift’s proposals.

 

Did you notice the difference? Displacing “public” with “economy” makes it so much more up to date, 21st century, so now. Can you remember when what is beneficial to the public didn’t necessarily mean what is beneficial to the economy? The recent poisoning of the water in West Virginia immediately springs to mind (although most media coverage slips ever so “naturally” into referring to it in terms of the economy). If Swift were writing (under a pseudonym and, of course, not appearing in The Newark Advocate), he’d probably say something like “at least the car washes are still open and working!” Can you remember when what is beneficial to the economy was not beneficial to the public? No brainer – our contemporary “shared” time; the stock market is at record levels and continues to rise, money available for too big to fail banks is at record low interest rates (or free), and income disparity continues to expand.

 

In this blog’s December 1, 2013 posting (Can We Talk – Income Disparity?) Analysis pointed out that, like the Newark Advocate’s policy eliminating anonymous or pseudonym authorship, “income disparity,” “income inequality,” have likewise been banned from our available media forums. Analysis wanted to say “public” media forums but, as that posting points out, they have become (covertly) “economic” media forums (what appears is dictated by purely financial criterion). The word “public” is quickly slipping into “economy”; the assumption being that what is good for the economy, is always good for the public (so why even bother to use the word “public”? Efficiency benefits economy.).

 

“Public, adj. 1. of or pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole”  (Webster’s College Dictionary)

 

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