‘Economy’ has two meanings

Economy has several meanings. Here’s one. It often simply means saving money.: doing without or buying cheaper. Is that a false god? It can be, if you make saving money an obsession rather than a means to an end. You can make your life and the lives of your family miserable if you leave no room for fun and even minor bits of extravagance. But that is not my main concern right now.

A quill pen. Words such as 'economy' have various meanings.

Words such as ‘economy’ have various meanings.

What is the other meaning of ‘economy’?

People often talk of the economy as if it meant something real. Governments do things for the good of the economy and we have to make sacrifices for it. Do we know what we are talking about? Sometimes it is simply a way of saying ‘the material well-being of the nation’. So if ‘it’ is doing well, we mean people generally are better off. Therefore some people might have to make sacrifices for the general good. Sometimes we all have to do without now in order to be better off in future.

Can the economy be a bad thing?

Governments can talk about the good of the economy as a way of covering injustice. Something that is good for the nation as a whole may be bad for some individuals or groups whilst good for others. Overall it might be described as good or bad without saying for whom exactly. Austerity was allegedly good for the economy, but most people were worse off.

Is inflation bad?

For most of us, rising prices make life harder unless our incomes keep up. At present, the government is trying to reduce inflation in two ways. It is holding down pay in the public sector and allowing interest rates to rise. How does that help the economy? Who does it help? In what way is inflation worse than falling wages or rising mortgage costs? Of course, some prices will come down if people are too poor to buy the goods. Is that a success? I wrote before about the way we need to talk about inflation. That post was meant to be humorous, but I am not laughing at all the people who can’t pay their bills. Let us not sacrifice people to the false god of ‘the economy’.