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Abstract

5 Silja Graupe, Theresa Steffestun "The market deals out profits and losses"-How Standard Economic Textbooks Promote Uncritical Thinking in Metaphors-Standard economic textbooks exhibit a massive and implicit use of metaphors.-This tacit use of metaphors may deceive the student reader and encourage uncritical thinking.-Critical reflection in economic education can encourage and enable a responsible use of metaphors. Purpose: Cognitive Linguistics has repeatedly pointed out the major significance of metaphors. In particular, metaphors are highly effective in the context of political and economic discourse. We analyze the as yet ignored use of metaphors in standard economic textbooks as exemplified by Paul A. Samuelson and N. Gregory Mankiw. The following will focus on the metaphorical semantic context surrounding the abstract concept of "the market". Design: Using textual analysis and drawing from Conceptual Metaphor Theory the authors examine how the concept of "the market" is introduced as an abstract and primarily empty concept, (re-)interpreted with the help of entity metaphors, personifications and orientational metaphors, and linked to ideological and political value judgments. In addition the analysis illustrates how the use of metaphors in textbooks is not made transparent, nor is a critical reflection of the metaphorical rhetoric encouraged. Findings: In conclusion, based on their own teaching experience, the authors, addressing both teachers and students, outline possibilities of promoting the critical and conscious use of metaphors, not only in textbooks but also in public discourse.
Prof.Dr.SiljaGraupeisPresidentoftheCusanus
Hochschule(temporary),DirectoroftheInstituteof
EconomicsandProfessorforEconomicsand
PhilosophyattheCusanusHochschule.
Email:Silja.Graupe@cusanushochschule.de
TheresaSteffestun,M.A.,isscientificassistantatthe
InstituteofEconomicsattheCusanusHochschule.
Email:Theresa.Steffestun@cusanushochschule.de
CusanusHochschule,Postfach1146,54461
BernkastelKues,Germany
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Volume17,Number3,Fall2018   DOI10.4119/UNIBI/jssev17i31803
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SiljaGraupe,TheresaSteffestun
“Themarketdealsoutprofitsandlosses”HowStandardEconomicTextbooksPromote
UncriticalThinkinginMetaphors
‐Standardeconomictextbooksexhibitamassiveandimplicituseofmetaphors.
‐Thistacituseofmetaphorsmaydeceivethestudentreaderandencourageuncriticalthinking.
‐Criticalreflectionineconomiceducationcanencourageandenablearesponsibleuseofmetaphors.
Purpose:CognitiveLinguisticshasrepeatedlypointedoutthemajorsignificanceofmetaphors.Inparticular,
metaphorsarehighlyeffectiveinthecontextofpoliticalandeconomicdiscourse.Weanalyzetheasyetignoreduseof
metaphorsinstandardeconomictextbooksasexemplifiedbyPaulA.SamuelsonandN.GregoryMankiw.The
followingwillfocusonthemetaphoricalsemanticcontextsurroundingtheabstractconceptof„themarket“.
Design:UsingtextualanalysisanddrawingfromConceptualMetaphorTheorytheauthorsexaminehowtheconcept
of„themarket“isintroducedasanabstractandprimarilyemptyconcept,(re)interpretedwiththehelpofentity
metaphors,personificationsandorientationalmetaphors,andlinkedtoideologicalandpoliticalvaluejudgments.In
additiontheanalysisillustrateshowtheuseofmetaphorsintextbooksisnotmadetransparent,norisacritical
reflectionofthemetaphoricalrhetoricencouraged.
Findings:Inconclusion,basedontheirownteachingexperience,theauthors,addressingbothteachersandstudents,
outlinepossibilitiesofpromotingthecriticalandconscioususeofmetaphors,notonlyintextbooksbutalsoinpublic
discourse.

Keywords:
Economictextbooks,PaulA.Samuelson,N.GregoryMankiw,metaphorsineconomicdiscourse,conceptualmetaphor
theory,economiceducation
1Introduction1
Themarketeconomy“shouldleavethemarketforcessufficient
leeway,tounfoldfreeandpowerful.Thiswasthedrivingforce
ofgrowthbeforethecrisisandwillbethedrivingforceof
growthafterthecrisis”.
(AngelaMerkel,WEF2009)2
“Themarketiscurrentlyonlyorientedonsurvivingandnot
makingprofits.”
(JosefAckermann,Spiegel2008)3
“Amarketisamechanism.[…]Pricesarethebalancewheelof
themarketmechanism.”
(Samuelson&Nordhaus,2010,p.26f)
Recentresearchhasfocusedonthepreeminentsignify
canceofmarketmetaphorsincurrentpoliticalthought
anddiscourse(e.g.,Pühringer,2015;Lakoff&Wehling,
2016).Pühringerforexample,whoexaminesthetypeof
argumentationusedbytheGermanChancellorAngela
Merkelascitedabovetopushthroughhereconomic
policiesofausterityaftertheeconomic,financialand
monetarycrisesof2008/2009,summarizeshisresearch
inthefollowingmanner:“Dominantconceptualmeta
phorsinMerkel’scrisisnarrativesubordinatepolicy
makingtosuperior‘marketmechanisms’,whichare
attributedwithhumanandnaturalcharacteristics.Moral
focusofcrisisnarrativeof‘livingbeyondonesmeans’
forcesausteritypolicies”(Pühringer,2015,p.246).Many
ofusarefamiliarwithhowmarketsareunderstood
metaphoricallythroughthedaytodayuseoflanguage.
Whohasnotheardof“themarket”anditsdrivingforces,
ofmarketforcesandmarketmechanisms,whichweare
notonlycalledupontoplaceourtrustinbutwhichare
apparentlyconditionalforthingstorunsmoothly?Itmay
bethatthekindofmetaphoricimageryusedinpublic
discoursehasbecomesofamiliartousthatwenolonger
questionitsvalidityandinsteadholdittobeliterallytrue
andcapableofguidingthedebateoneconomicissues.
Yetnoonehaseverbeenabletoactuallyseeorliterally
touch“themarketmechanism”inthewayonewould
touchthemotorofacar,forinstance.Thetermcarries
onlymetaphoricalmeaning.Statedsimply,thismeans
thatconceptshavebeentakenfromanareaofexperi
ence,suchastheuseofmachinery,which,whilebearing
littleornorelationshiptoeconomics,areyetutilizedto
bringmeaningtoit.
Usingmetaphorsdoesnotmakethediscourseabout
“themarket”asamechanismlesseffective,onthecon
trary.Forexample,cognitivelinguistsGeorgLakoffand
ElisabethWehlingspeakexplicitlyof“themarket”asa
“myth”,ametaphorusedbypoliticalconservativesto
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dominatethepoliticaldiscoursebyinfluencinglanguage
useonanunconsciouslevel(Lakoff&Wehling,2016,p.
45).
“Politicalandeconomicideologiesareframedinmeta
phoricalterms.Likeallothermetaphors,politicaland
economicmetaphorscanhideaspectsofreality.Butinthe
areaofpoliticsandeconomics,metaphorsmattermore,
becausetheyconstrainourlives.Ametaphorinapolitical
oreconomicsystem,byvirtueofwhatithides,canleadto
humandegradation.”(Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.236)
Basedonthisassessmentitseemsappropriateto
expectthateconomics,asascientificdiscipline,would
takeaparticularlycarefulapproachtotheuseofmeta
phorsindescribingtheeconomy,includingtheirimplied
ideasandconcepts.Itshouldbeplausibletoassumethat
economicsasanacademicdisciplinewouldencourage
skillsinrecognizingandcriticallyevaluatingtheuseof
metaphors,andoffermethodologicallysubstantiated
alternativeswhenmetaphorsareusedinthepublic
discoursetodescribeabstractconceptssuchas“the
market”or“price”.Particularlysinceimportantrepre
senttativesofeconomicshave,despitetheirotherdiffer
rences,acknowledgedthepowerof(abstract)ideasfor
decades.FriedrichAugustHayek(18991992),advocate
ofasocialorderbasedon“freemarkets”,forinstance
remarked:
“Thepowerofabstractideasislargelybasedonthesimple
factthattheyarenotconsciouslyperceivedastheories,but
thatmostpeopleunderstandthemasimmediatelyevident
truths,whichactastacitlyacceptedpresuppositions.”
(Transl.fromHayek,1980,p.100)4
Hayek’sassessmentshowsthatabstractideastendto
beeasilyinternalizedandbecometheunquestioned
basisforthoughtandaction.5Thisisbecausethey
generatemeaningbasedonspecificassumptionsand
interpretationswhicharehardlyeversubjecttocons
ciousreflection,whileinverselymaintainingadetermi
nativeeffectonallconsciousdecisionsaswellashabitual
behavior.RecentstudiesinCognitiveLinguisticshave
shownthatabstractideasparticularlyturninto“imme
diatelyevidenttruths”whenmetaphorsareuncritically
appliedasameansofinterpretation(cf.Wehling,2016,
p.68;Gibbs,1996,p.309;Jamroziketal.,2016).Thisis
becausethroughmetaphorsitispossibletomakea
connectiontoamostlyunconsciousframeworkofinter
pretivestructuresofthoughtdescribedbycognitive
scientistsasframes,whichlendideas,conceptsand
termsimmediateandpersuasiveinterpretativepower.In
thismannermetaphorsimplicitlycreateanimageof
realitywhich,inuncriticallyperceivedpoliticaland
economiccontextsofdiscourse,hasaprofoundeffect.
Theepistemicsignificanceofmetaphorsforthedisci
plineofeconomicshasmeanwhilebeenacknowledged
(e.g.,McCloskey1983and1994;Klamer&Leonard,
1994).Brodbeckpointsoutthatthisdiscipline’sspecific
andmostlyunreflectedmetaphoricrhetoric,inparticular
withregardstomechanicalmetaphors,canbe
considereditsverytrademark:
“Economicmechanicsagreeononepointextensively:
EugenvonBöhmBawerk[forinstance][...]lendshisvoice
equallytothechoirofeconomicmechanicshespeaksofa
‘mechanicsofexchangeablevalueaccumulation’asdoes
LeonWalras,thefatherofmoderngeneralequilibrium
theory,whospeaksofthe‘mechanicsofcompetition’.Even
Schumpeterconcedesa‘mechanismoftrade’,andeven
describesthe‘dynamicentrepreneur’intermsofama
chine:‘Eventheentrepreneurisnotafactorofchangehere
butthevehicleofachangemechanism.’Inanotherexam
ple,Keynesspeaksofa‘monetarymachine’.Furthermore,
authorswhodonottrustthetendencyof‘economicforces’
towardsgeneralequilibriumstillcontinuetobespellbound
bytheconceptofmechanicsdespitetheiroppositionto
equilibriumtheory:‘Thesystem’,GunnarMyrdalexplains
withregardtotheissueofunderdevelopment,‘doesnotof
itselfgravitatetowardssomeformofequilibriumofforces
butonthecontrary,movesfarawayfromit.’.”(Transl.from
Brodbeck,1996,pp.4142)6
Whileplentyofprofoundresearchhasbeendonein
ordertoidentify,historicallycontextualizeandepistemo
logicallyanalyzemetaphorsusedineconomictheories,
economicscholarshiphasdonelittletocriticallyreflect
theiruseineconomiceducationanditsmainmedium,
thetextbook.7Thereforeinthefollowingwewilltryto
contributetoclosingthisresearchgapandaddressthe
specificapplicationofabstractconceptscentraltothe
discipline,suchas“themarket”,“prices”,“supply”,etc.,
ineconomiceducation.Inthefollowingwewillinquire
howtheseconceptsaremetaphoricallyinterpreted,or
ratherreinterpreted,particularlywithregardtothe
mannertheybecomeemotionallyaswellaspolitically
andideologicallysupercharged.Ouranalysisisbasedon
twotextbooks,whichhavebeenchosennotonlybe
causetheyexemplifythestandardgenreofeconomic
textbooks,butalsobecausetheirglobaldistributionand
applicationmakesthemhighlysuccessfultextbooks:
EconomicsbyPaulA.Samuelson(since1985coauthored
byWilliamD.Nordhaus,inthefollowingsimply
Samuelson)andEconomicsbyN.GregoryMankiw.
Samuelson’stextbookiswidelyrecognizedasthearche
typeofthemodernEconomicstextbookandservesasa
rolemodelincontentandstyleforthemajorityof
currentlypublishedtextbooks(cf.Walstadetal.,1998;
Pearce&Hoover,1995;Smith,2000).Weconsider
Mankiw’stextbookasrelevantforourinquiry,sinceitis
distributedonaglobalscaleandisoneofthemostused
textbooksinGermany(cf.v.Treeck&Urban,2016,9;in
caseofGermanysee:Beckenbachetal.,2016,214;
Rebhan,2017,pp.85ff.)8.Methodologyandcontentof
thisanalysiswillinparticularbuilduponarecentstudy
onelementsofpersuasionineconomicseducation
(Graupe,2017).Itwillbeshownthattheapplicationof
metaphorsin,anditsconsequencesforstandardecono
miceducationhasnotbeenmadetransparentinthe
analyzedtextbooksnorhasa(critical)reflectionofthe
rhetoricbeenencouraged.
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Inourarticlewewillproceedasfollows:Sectiontwo
willprovideasummaryofthemostessentialinterdis
ciplinaryfindingsonthesignificance,applicationand,
mostimportantly,cognitiveeffectofmetaphors,pri
marilydrawnfromConceptualMetaphorTheoryasprin
cipallyformulatedbyGeorgeLakoffandMarkJohnson
(Lakoff&Johnson,1980,1999and2003).Afterthisshort
theoreticalintroductionsectionthreewilldescribehow
abstractconceptsareinitiallyestablishedintheintro
ductorychaptersofthetextbooksinquestion.Subse
quentlywewillfocusontheconceptof“themarket”.In
sectionfourwewillshowhowtheseabstractconcepts,
largelydevoidofeverydayandexperiencebasedmean
ing,aremetaphoricallytransformedtocarrynewseman
ticmeaning.Thiswillbeexemplifiedbyshowingwhat
roleontologicalmetaphors,personificationsandthe
applicationoforientationalmetaphorsplayinthispro
cess.Sectionfivewillbedevotedtoprovidingexamples
ofhowthesetextbooks,oncethemetaphorshavebeen
introduced,subsequentlyincorporatethemintoan
entirenetworkofcognitivepatternsofinterpretation,in
cognitivescienceknownassemanticframes,andasa
consequencelargelybecomeimplicitlytetheredto
politicalideologicalvalues.Insectionsixwewillconclude
withsuggestionsofhowthisinducementofuncritical
thinkinginstandardeconomictextbooksmaybecoun
teredintheclassroomandhoweconomiceducationcan
promotestudents’criticaljudgmentandepistemicabili
ties.
2.Thesignificanceandimpactofmetaphors:Ashort
introduction
“Metaphorsframeourthinking”(Jamroziketal.,2016)
Thestudyofmetaphorsisasoldasphilosophyitself.The
understandingofmetaphorsandtheirsignificancefor
humanbeingsdifferthroughoutthistraditionenormous
ly(forthefollowingcf.Huber,2005).Commontoall
interpretationsofmetaphorsisthefundamentaletymo
logicalmeaningoftheGreekwordmetaphoráastrans
ferenceortransposition.Thestartingpointofthe
reflectiononmetaphorsisoftensaidtobemarkedby
Aristotle,whounderstoodmetaphorsasarhetorical
means(cf.Aristotle,1818,pp.329f.).Inhisperception,
metaphorsarewords,whichhaveameaningdifferent
fromtheiroriginalmeaningtransferredtothembasedon
thesimilarityofthetwowords.
“Butametaphoristhetranspositionofanountoasignify
cationdifferentfromitsoriginalimport,eitherfromthe
genustothespecies,orfromthespeciestothegenus;or
fromthespeciestospecies,oraccordingtotheanalogous.
[…]Again,eveninghasasimilarrelationtoday,thatoldage
hastolife.Itmaythereforebesaidthateveningistheold
ageoftheday,andthattheoldageistheeveningoflife.
(Aristotle,1818,pp.329ff.)”
Heintroduced,whatiscommonlycalledthesub
stitutivefunctionofmetaphors:“eveningoflife”canbe
substitutedbytheliteralexpression“endoflife”orthe
category“age”.Metaphorsinthissenseareareduced
comparison.Thismeansthatitispossibletosay“thelion
isthekingoftheanimals”anddismisswordssignalinga
comparisonoranalogy,suchas“like”.ItwasAristotle
himself,butalsoinfluentialphilosopherssuchasHobbes
orLocke,who,basedontheunderstandingofmetaphors
asfiguresofspeechandrhetoricaldecor,heavilycri
ticizedtheuseofmetaphorespeciallyinphilosophical
andscientificcontexts(cf.Hobbes,1992,pp.43and
45f)9:
“Thisisawayofproceedingquitecontrarytometaphor
andallusion,whereinforthemostpartliesthatenter
tainmentandpleasantryofwit,whichstrikessolivelyon
thefancy,andthereforeissoacceptabletoallpeople:
becauseitsbeautyappearsatfirstsight,andthereisre
quirednolabourofthoughttoexaminewhattruthor
reasonthereisinit.”(Locke,1967,p.123f)
Itisthecognitiveturninlinguisticswhichledtoafun
damentalshiftintheunderstandingofmetaphorsfroma
primarilyrhetoricalandlinguisticinterpretationofmeta
phorsasfigurativespeechtoabroadercomprehension
ofmetaphorsasbeingthefundamentalbasisofhuman
cognition,judgmentandaction(cf.Cassirer,1983,p.
154;Black,1996b,p.398,citedinHuber,2005,pp.15
and23):
“Thetraditionaltheorynoticedonlyafewofthemodesof
metaphor;andlimiteditsapplicationofthetermmetaphor
toafewofthemonly.Andtherebyitmademetaphorseem
tobeaverbalmatter,ashiftinganddisplacementofwords,
whereasfundamentallyitisaborrowingbetweenandinter
courseofthoughts,atransactionbetweencontexts,Thought
ismetaphoric,andproceedsbycomparison,andthe
metaphorsoflanguagederivetherefrom.”(Richards,1936,p.
94;author’semphasis)
Metaphoricallanguageistheresultofmetaphorically
structuredthought;thisisthebasicstatementof
cognitivelinguistics.Althoughthedisciplinemaintains
thefundamentalunderstandingofmetaphorsasthe
transferenceofmeaning,itfocusesonananalyticalstep
priortotherhetoricalandlinguisticanalysisofmeta
phorsandthusasksforthenecessarypreconditionsfor
metaphoricallanguageuse.ThephilosophersIvor
Richards(1936)andMaxBlack(1954),whoareunder
stoodtobetheearlyrevolutionariesinthecognitiveturn
ofmetaphortheory,pointtothecreativeandinteractive
qualityofthemetaphoricalprocessoftransference(for
thefollowingcf.Black1996a,pp.75f.and1996b,pp.
391f.citedinHuber,2005,p.20).Notonlyistherean
interactionofmeaningbetweenthesource(“king”)and
thetargetofthemetaphor(“lion”),whichcreatesnew
meanings,thecognitiveinteractionintheprocessof
transferenceisunderstoodasamodeofhumanaction.
Thisnewinterpretationofmetaphorssurpassesthe
traditional,especiallysinceitpointstotheinterpretative
contextsofthemetaphoricalsourceandtarget.That
thereisawholerangeofmeaningandnormative
implicationattachedtoeachconceptusedinmeta
phoricalthinkingandexpressionisonecornerstoneof
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thismoderncognitiveapproachtometaphors:someone
whoemploysmetaphorsinteractswithmeaning.She
engageswiththesefieldsofmeaningbyselectingand
therebyhidingandhighlightingcertainelementsinclude
edinthesefields.TheInteractionMetaphorTheory(IMT)
formulatedbyBlackisunderstoodtobethepreludeto
themuchmorerecognizedConceptualMetaphorTheory
(CMT)asputforwardbyGeorgeLakoffandMark
Johnson(cf.Jäkel,1997;Liebert,1992).Thefollowingwill
summarizeourshortintroductioninmetaphortheoryby
outliningthemodeofcognition,bywhichthiscognitive
approachandtheperformativequalityofmetaphorsis
underpinned,toillustratetheprofoundsignificanceof
metaphoricalthoughtforhumanaction.10
“Metaphorisformostpeopleadeviceofthepoetic
imaginationandtherhetoricalflourish‐amatterofextra
ordinaryratherthanordinarylanguage.Moreover,meta
phoristypicallyviewedascharacteristicoflanguagealone,
amatterofwordsratherthanthoughtoraction.Forthis
reason,mostpeoplethinktheycangetalongperfectlywell
withoutmetaphor.Wehavefound,onthecontrary,that
metaphorispervasiveineverydaylife,notjustinlanguage
butinthoughtandaction.Ourordinaryconceptualsystem,
intermsofwhichweboththinkandact,isfundamentally
metaphoricalinnature.(Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.3)
FromthepointofviewofthelinguistLakoffandthe
philosopherJohnson,metaphorshelptoclarifythe
meaningofconceptsthroughtheuseofothers,bytrans
ferringaparticularsemanticcontent,andthebasic
culturalandsensorimotorexperiencesassociatedwithit,
fromthesourcedomainoftheconceptthemetaphor
referstothetargetdomain,thatistotheconceptin
needofexplanation(cf.Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.5).
LakoffandJohnsoncallthisprocess“Mapping”(cf.Lakoff
&Johnson,1980,p.14;Lakoff,1993,p.244,citedin
Huber,2005,p.28).Accordingtoconceptualmetaphor
theory,metaphorsarecentralnotonlytostructuring
humanlanguageandthought,butalsohumanaction(cf.
Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.4;Schmitt,2004).Therebythis
stanceemphasizesmetaphors’performativecharacter,
transcendingtheclassicalAristotelianunderstandingthat
theyaremerelyrhetoricalstylisticdevices,henceonly
significantasdecorativerhetoricaltools(cf.Kirby,1997,
p.532).FollowingLakoffandJohnson‘saccount,meta
phorsshedlightoncognitiveinterpretiveframeswith
whichpeopleperceiveandjudgetheworldandupon
whichtheyact(Wehling,2016,17f.).Wehlingpointsto
therelevanceoftheseframesforhumanactionsby
indicatingthat“frames,notfacts,determineour
decisions“(Transl.fromWehling,2016,p.45)11.Inthis
wayframeshaveahighlyselectiveeffectontherangeof
thought,judgmentandaction:
“Framesdeterminehoweasilyfactsandinformationare
grasped,independentlyofwhethertheseseemtobe‘ob
jectivelyfactual’ornot.Infact,therearenomore‘objec
tive’factseasiertounderstandonceframingcomesinto
play.Thereareonlyfactswhichareeasiertoframethan
others,orthosewhichcannotbeframedatall….”(Transl.
fromWehling,2016,p.36)12
Thedominantroleplayedbyinterpretiveframeworksis
moreclearlyunderstoodonceithasbeenviewedasan
essentialcomponentorevenconstitutiveelementofour
cognitiveunconsciousthatisnotonlysystematically
differentfromallconscious(andthuscontrollable)
thoughtbutprincipallyanticipates,therebysystema
ticallyinforms,reflectivethought(cf.e.g.,Lakoff&
Wehling,2016,p.22;Kahneman,2012;Thaler&
Sunstein,2009,p.22):
Ourunconsciousconceptualsystemfunctionslikea‘hidden
hand’thatshapeshowweconceptualizeallaspectsofour
experience.Thishiddenhandgivesformtothemetaphysics
thatisbuiltintoourordinaryconceptualsystems.Itcreates
theentitiesthatinhabitthecognitiveunconsciousab
stractentitieslikefriendships,bargains,failures,andlies
thatweuseinordinaryunconsciousreasoning.Itthus
shapeshowweautomaticallyandunconsciouslycompre
hendwhatweexperience.Itconstitutesourunreflective
commonsense.(Lakoff&Johnson,1999,p.13)
Inthispointofviewthecognitiveunconsciousworks
intuitively,spontaneously,effortlessly,quasiautoma
ticallyandthusisuncontrollabletoconsciousthought(cf.
Kahneman,2002,pp.450f;Lakoff,2001).Hence,withre
gardtohowthecognitiveunconsciousfunctions,meta
phorsplayacentralrole.Moreprecisely,theymustbe
consideredanessentialstructuralelementofcognitive
interpretiveframeworks.Inordertodeepenourunder
standingofthis,itisimportanttoknowthatinterpretive
frameworksdonotjustappearfromoutofnowhere.
Rather,theyareestablishedfromtangible,oftenrecur
ingindividualaswellascollectivehumanexperiences,
whichessentiallybecometherebyembodied(cf.Lakoff&
Johnson,1999):
“Thecontentandstructureofaframe,thusitsindividual
semanticframe,emergefromourexperienceswiththe
world.Theseincludealsobodilyexperiences,e.g.motion
sequences,space,timeandemotions,aswellasforinstan
cefromexperienceswithlanguageandculture.”(Transl.
fromWehling,2016,p.28)13
Sinceabstractconceptsessentiallylackreferenceto
concreteexperience,metaphorsplayasignificantrolein
interpretingthese,asindicatedabove,bylinkingthemto
otherconceptswhicharelessabstractandrefermore
directlytotangibleexperience.Yet,theoriginalcontextin
whichtheyareembeddeddoesnotneedtobearmuch
relationtothenewcontextinwhichtheyarebeinglinked
to,afacttheuseofmetaphorsconceals.Aspecific
exampleofthisisrepresentedbytheEuropeanUnion’s
anditsEurozonemembers’creationofahighlycomplex
packageofmeasurestoavoidinsolvencyamongits
individualmemberstates,metaphoricallytitledasa“res
cueumbrella”(“Rettungsschirm”inGerman).Thehighly
complexstructuretheycreated,itsconcretelegal,
politicalandfinancialconsequences,extendwaybeyond
thepossiblerangeofexperienceonthepartofamajority
ofEUcitizens.Referringtothispackageasa“rescue
umbrella”engendersametaphoricalinterpretationofits
implications.Inthiswayitbecomespossibletotriggera
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primarilyunconscious,thusseeminglyeffortlessunder
standingofcomplexpoliticaldecisionmakingprocesses
withinthe(limited)scopeofasemanticframe,i.e.the
metaphor’soriginalcontextorsourcedomain.Becauseit
referstoareadilyunderstoodandfamiliarphysical
experience,itdoesnotrequireanyrealknowledgeofthe
metaphor’stargetarea(thoseverylegal,politicaland
financialprocessesmentionedabove).Theterm“rescue
umbrella”connotesthattheresolutionspassedbythe
EuropeanUnionandEurozonememberstatesaregeared
toward“protection”,“securityandprovidinga“bul
wark”againsttheinconvenienceofnaturalandthus
uncontrollableforces.Essentially,themetaphortriggers
similarconnotationsformostpeople,irrespectiveof
whetheritsassociationsadequatelyrepresentthekindof
politicalmeasuresinvolvedornot.Saiddifferently:
beyondappearingnotonlyhighlyselective,metaphors
alsocanalsobedeceptive.Respectivetothemetaphor
involved,anentiresemanticframeworkanditsunder
lyingculturalandsensorimotorexperiencesbecome
activated,wherebysomearemoreprominentlyempha
sizedthanothers.Themetaphornotonlyallowsor
restrictscertainpossibilitiesofperceivingrealitybut
moreover,asLakoffandJohnsonemphasize,italsopro
motescertainwaysofdealingwithreality(cf.Jamroziket
al.,2016).14
“Metaphorsmaycreaterealitiesforus,especiallysocial
realities.Ametaphormaythusbeaguideforfutureaction.
Suchactionswill,ofcourse,fitthemetaphor.Thiswill,in
turnreinforcethepowerofthemetaphortomakeexperi
encecoherent.Inthissensemetaphorscanbeselffulfilling
prophecies.”(Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.156)
WealreadymentionedthataccordingtoCognitive
Linguisticsmetaphorsplayanimportantroleinexplain
ingabstractconcepts(cf.Gibbs,1996,p.309;Jamroziket
al.,2016),theirdistinguishingcharacteristicbeingthat
theylackreferencetothekindofhumanexperience
whichmustbesimulatedinordertounderstandthem:
“Throughmetaphorsweconnectabstractideastophy
sicalexperience,whichallowsthemtobe‘thought’
(Transl.fromWehling,2016,p.68).15Inthewordsof
LakoffandJohnson:“[W]etypicallyconceptualizethe
nonphysicalintermsofthephysicalthatis,wecon
ceptualizethelessclearlydelineatedintermsofthe
moreclearlydelineated”(Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.59).
CognitiveLinguisticsshowsthatthisformofmetaphoric
conceptualizationoftenslipsundertheradarofrational
thoughtandthusescapesitsconsciouscontrol:
“Forthesamereasonsthatschemasandmetaphorsgiveus
powertoconceptualizeandreason,sotheyhavepower
overus.Anythingthatwerelyonconstantly,unconsciously,
andautomaticallyissomuchpartofusthatitcannotbe
easilyresisted,inlargemeasurebecauseitisbarelyeven
noticed.Totheextentthatweuseaconceptualschemaora
conceptualmetaphor,weacceptitsvalidity.Consequently,
whensomeoneelseusesit,wearepredisposedtoaccept
itsvalidity.Forthisreason,conventionalizedschemasand
metaphorshavepersuasivepoweroverus.”(Lakoff&
Turner,1989,p.66)
3Introducingtheabstractconceptof“themarket”
Metaphorssuchas“themarketisamechanism”areonly
effectivewhenspecificmodesofexpressionarelacking
todelineateatargetdomain(here:economicactivityin
theformofmonetaryexchange),sothatoneisforcedto
drawfromthemostlyimplicitbasicconceptsexistingin
thesourcedomaintoapproximateunderstanding.How
ever,thefollowingquotebyMankiwillustratesthat,in
economicseducation,thespecificeconomiclanguage
peopledoindeedacquireintheireverydayexperienceis
tobesupersededbyabstractconcepts:
“Oneofthechallengesfacingstudentsofeconomicsisthat
manytermsusedarealsousedineverydaylanguage.In
economics,however,thesetermsmeanspecificthings.The
challenge,therefore,istosetasidethateverydayunder
standingandthinkofthetermorconceptaseconomistsdo.
Manyoftheconceptsyouwillcomeacrossinthisbookare
abstract.Abstractconceptsareoneswhicharenotconcrete
orrealtheyhavenotangiblequalities.Wewilltalkabout
markets,efficiency,comparativeadvantageandequilibrium,
forexample,butitisnoteasilytophysicallyseethese
concepts.Therearealsosomeconceptsthatare
fundamentaltothesubjectifyoumastertheseconcepts
theyactasaportalwhichenablesyoutothinklikean
economist.Onceyouhavemasteredtheseconceptsyou
willneverthinkinthesamewayagainandyouwillnever
lookatanissueinthesameway.Theseconceptsare
referredtoasthresholdconcepts.”(Mankiw&Taylor,2014,
p.17)
AccordingtoMankiw’sreasoning,economiceducation
isgearedtowardabandoninganeverydayunderstanding
ofeconomicprocessesandreplacingitbyabstractcon
ceptswhichhavelittletodowiththeformerorother
commoneconomicconceptsfamiliartothestudents.
Thisessentiallyinvolveslooseningorevendissolving
existinginterpretivestructuresofthecognitiveuncons
ciousinaprocessofunlearning.Metaphoricallywecan
speakofuprootingthoughtfromitsoriginalsoil.
Persuasionresearchspeaksinthisregardofdepattern
ing,changemanagementrespectivelyofunfreezingor
movingthoughtfromestablishedpatternsandstructures
ofthought(cf.Lewin,1947;Schein,2006).16
However,isitpossibletounequivocallyidentifysuch
processesinstandardeconomictextbooks?Accordingto
ouranalysisofSamuelson‘sEconomicsundMankiw’s
Economicstheanswerwouldhavetobeyes.Toillustrate
this,letustakeacloserlookatSamuelson’sEconomics
andhowtheconceptof“themarket”isintroducedinthe
secondchapter:
“Themarketlooksasajumbleofsellersandbuyers.It
seemsalmostamiraclethatfoodisproducedinsuitable
amounts,getstransportedtotherightplace,andarrivesin
apalatableformatthedinnertable.ButacloselookatNew
Yor k orothereconomiesisconvincingproofthatamarket
systemisneitherchaosnormiracle.Itisasystemwithits
owninternallogic.Anditworks.”(Samuelson/Nordhaus,
2010,p.26)
Theabovedescribes“themarket”asamiraculous
“jumble”which(purportedly)successfullyguaranteesour
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foodsupply.17Theauthorsclaimthat“acloselook”will
unmaskthemiracle.Yetthequestionwhoexactlywillbe
looking“closer”,what“acloser”lookentailsandwhat
“closer”meansprecisely,remainsunclear.Thetextsim
plysuggeststhattherearetwowaysofperceiving“the
market”:onethatallowsittogenerallyappearasa
wondrouschaos,anda“closer”onethatseesbeyond
appearancesintoa“system”that“works”.
Theaboveexemplifieshowthetext’slanguagema
neuversstudentsintoastateofuncertainty,sincetheir
preexistingcognitiveinterpretivestructureswesaidto
providelittleornoknowledgeofthesubject.Thisstateis
implicitlyreinforcedbyphrasessuchas“youmaybesur
prisedtolearn”or“seehowremarkablethisis”(2010,
26).Inaddition,theauthorspromiseasituationinwhich
atsomepointalltheconfusing,chaoticandastounding
characteristicswillmakesurprisingsense.Thisis
specificallyconjuredbyintroducingthemetaphorofthe
“unseenhand”,whichSamuelsonintroducesasa
“paradox”(2005,2830):Thekindofeconomicinsight
transmittedthusinvolvesinformationwhich,tothe
beginner,simplyappearssurprisingandunexpected,
shockingthereaderintoquestioninghisorherown
conventionalwisdom.Atthesametimeapeekintoa
new,intellectualunderstandingofthesubjectiscon
jured,whichstudentscanbeholdwithawefromtheir
perspectiveofnoncomprehension:“Oneofourgoalsin
thisbookistounderstandhowSmith’sinvisiblehand
worksitsmagic”,Mankiwwrites(2014,p.8).The
implicationhereis,whateverisshroudedinthefogof
conventionalunderstandingwillatsomefuturepointbe
moreclearlyunderstoodbythestudents.
Inouropinionthisstateofuncertaintyisreinforcedby
afurthertactic:Everystudentatthebeginningoftheir
studyofeconomicshaslikelyalreadyacquiredabroad
networkofinterpretivestructures,i.e.acomplexframe
semantic,inwhichdifferenteconomictermsandcon
ceptshavebeencognitivelyintertwinedwithimplicit
experiencebasedreferences.Whatisstrikingishow
quicklytheseeconomictextbookssucceedinencou
ragingstudentstoignoremostoftheiracquiredsemantic
frames.Thishasbeenidentifiedasastrategyofcon
cealmentwhichcanleadtoaphenomenoncalled
hypocognition:
“Hypocognitionmeansthenonexistenceorlossofideas
throughalackoflanguagedescribingtheseideas.Stated
morecasually:Whatdiscoursesdon’tmentionissimplynot
beingthought.Wherethereisalackofwordsideascannot
becomeestablishedorbemaintainedovertime.Ourbrain
circuitsdonotbecomefired,theyshrivel.”(Transl.from
Wehling,2016,pp.6465)18
Thestrategyofconcealmentidentifiedinbothtext
bookanalysesisbasedinparticularonfocusingecono
miclanguageanditsdescriptionofcomplexeconomic
phenomenasolelyontheterm“themarket”withoutany
clearjustificationfromtheveryfirstchapteron.Inthis
mannerSamuelsonclaimsinhisintroductorychapter:
“Mosteconomicactivityinmosthighincomecountries
takeplaceinprivatemarketsthroughthemarket
mechanismsowebeginoursystematicstudythere”
(2010,26).“Theeconomy”issubsequentlyreducedto
“themarket”,firstbybeingtransformedintoa“system
ofpricesandmarkets”,fromwhichpointitisexclusively
referredtoas“marketsystem”,orevenfurtherabridged
tojust“markets”oreven“themarket”(cf.Samuelson&
Nordhaus,2005,p.26).Themannerinwhichconceptu
alizationisnarrowedtowheremuchofthepreviously
acquiredknowledgeofeconomicsissuspendedcanalso
befoundinMankiw.Whilesubsuminghislastsixprin
ciplesofhistenprinciplesofeconomicsunderthe
generalheading“howpeopleinteract”,Mankiwframes
everyformofhumaninteractiondirectlywithintermsof
“trade”,thenintermsof“marketeconomy”andulti
matelyintermsof“themarket”,thelatterbeingdirectly
linkedwiththeconceptoftheinvisiblehandmentioned
above.Itiswithinthislinguisticcontextthatallother
issuesareembedded.Thefollowingreads,forinstance:
“Iftheinvisiblehandofthemarketissowonderful,whydo
weneedgovernment?[…]Althoughtheinvisiblehandoften
leadsmarketstoallocateresourcesefficiently,thatisnot
alwaysthecase.Economistsusethetermmarketfailureto
refertoasituationinwhichthemarketonitsownfailsto
produceanefficientallocationofresources.”(Mankiw&
Tay l o r,2014,p.8)
Theaboveexemplifieshowdescriptionsoftheeco
nomyarereducedto“themarket”,atermwhichonthe
onehandisimbuedwiththeauraofnovelty,income
prehensibilityaswellaswonder,whileontheotheris
alsopromotedtooneofthecoreconcepttualizations
studentsmustunderstandinordertoadvanceintheir
studies.Theintroductionof“themarket”conceptthere
foretakesplaceatamomentofcognitiveuncertainty
whereprevioussemanticconnectionsaredissolvedin
horror(overone’sapparentignorance)andawe(over
theapparentmagicof“themarket”).Inthesense
intendedbyMankiw,therefore,theterm“themarket”is
tobeconsideredathresholdconcept(cf.thequoteof
Mankiwcitedabove):a“conceptualgateway”or“portal”
wherethestudentmustleaveheroldconceptualizations
behindinordertobreakthroughtoanew,anduntilyet,
unattainableunderstanding:“anewwayofunderstand
ing,interpreting,orviewingsomethingmaythusemerge
atransformedinternalviewofsubjectmatter,subject
landscape,orevenworldview”(Meyer&Land,2005,p.
373).Thepromisethat,throughtheirtextbookstudy,
studentswouldbecomeeconomistsproficientinthesee
minglymagicalworkingsof“themarket”mayalsofunc
tionasarespectiveinvitationtocrossthethreshold.
4Themetaphoricrhetoricof“themarket”
Howisitpossibleforstudentstonotonlyreachbutalso
passthroughthisconceptualgateway?Formulatedin
termsofpersuasionresearch,oncedepatterninghas
occurred,howdoesrepatterninghappen?Howarepre
viouscognitivestructuresdissolved,newstructures
created,or“moved”,thenpermanentlyestablished,or
“refrozen”?Toclarifythisissuewenowwouldliketo
analyzethetwostandardeconomictextbooksingreater
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detailwithregardtohowdifferentkindsofmetaphors
areintroducedandused.
4.1Ontologicalmetaphors
Ingeneral,metaphorsplayahighlysignificantroleinthe
contextofdissolvingandrestructuringthewaytheeco
nomyisconceptualized,wherebyontological(orentity)
metaphorsplayaparticularlyimportantrole.Ontological
metaphorsascribetermsmeaningasiftheywereself
contained,discreteentitiesorthingsinordertomake
themeasiertoconceptualize(cf.Lakoff&Johnson,1980,
p.25).Samuelson’stextbookstandsclearlyinthetra
ditionofeconomicscholarshipinitsuseofentitymeta
phorsdrawnfromthefieldofmechanicsorfrom
commonknowledgeofmachinery(cf.thepreviousquo
tationbyBrodbeck).Inthismannerinhistextbook
chapter“Whatisamarket?”onefinds,aftertheecono
myisreducedto“markets”orjust“themarket”as
quotedanddiscussedabove,thefollowing“definition”:
“Itisasystemwithitsowninternallogic.Anditworks”
(2010,p.26).Thekeytothisnew,transformedperspec
tiveistobefoundinapurelymetaphoricaldescription,
thesourcedomainofwhichsystemsencompassing
selforganizingcomponentsthatcanguaranteetheirown
functioningisnotgoneintoinanydetailwhatsoever
but,rather,uncriticallyacceptedasthedeparturepoint
formetaphoricalmapping.Asaresult,students’concept
tualizationsarebeingimplicitlyguidedtoreinterpret
“themarket”originallyaplaceofsocialexchangeand
infinitehumaninteractionintoadiscrete,selfcontain
eduniformentity.Thegreat“jumble”ofcomplexsocial
processescharacteristicofeconomicactivityisnolonger
describedinitsgenuinelysocialcontextbutexclusively
reformulatedasa“systemwithitsowninternallogic”.
Moreover,itsreformulationoccurswithoutconscious
reflectiononthetransformationprocessithasbeen
subjectedto.
Inaddition,thetextbooksemanticallyaugmentsthe
entitymetaphorof“themarketisasystem”byfurther
embeddingitinabroaderfieldofmetaphoricalmean
ings.Theessentialsourcedomaininthisprocessisde
riveed,asalreadymentioned,fromthefieldofmecha
nicsandconventionalknowledgeofmachinery.The
chapterprovidesafirstdefinitionof“themarket”inthe
followingmanner:Amarketisamechanismthrough
whichbuyersandsellersinteracttodeterminepricesand
exchangegoodsandservices”(2010,p.26,authors’
emphasis).Themetaphorof“themarketisamecha
nism”issyntacticallysimpleandsemanticallyempty,
wherebytheword“is”functionsmerelyasacopula
carryingnofurthercontentdetermination.Thetextdoes
notmakeconsciousissueofwhethermoresemantically
precisemetaphoricalmappingsareneededtoanswer
questionssuchas:Howcangenuinelysocialprocessesof
exchangebeadequatelycomparedtomechanismsorthe
waymachineswork?Or,whatlimitsdoesthiscom
parisonhave?Instead,inthecourseofthechapter,the
metaphorof“themarketisamechanism”isrepeatedly
andimplicitlyestablishedasanapparentlyontological
statementthroughtheuseofotherequallyuncritical
mechanicalmetaphorssuchas“balancewheel”,“market
equilibrium”,“balance”,“elaboratemechanism”,“super
computer”,“signal”,“functioning”(Samuelson&
Nordhaus,2010,pp.2627).Becausenoindicationfor
criticalreflectionisgivenonhowametaphorical
understandingofmechanicscanbeappliedtoecono
mics,itmustbeassumedthatconcepttualizationsof
economicrelationshipsaretobeestablishedwithinnew
semanticframesunconsciously,whereinparticular
consciousandcriticalreflectioniscircumventedandim
plicitknowledgeof,andtacitexperienceswithmachinery
areusedtoreplaceotherconceptualizationsofeconomic
experience.
4.2Personification
Metaphoricalmapping,however,doesnotendhere.
Particularlyconspicuousisthefactthatentitymetaphors
suchas“themarketisamachine”areoftenascribedan
thropomorphiccharacteristicsandthusinthesenseof
LakoffandJohnsontheyalsofunctionaspersonifications
(cf.Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.33f.).Makingcomplex
socialprocessesandexperiencesappeartoactas
subjectsadditionallyimbuedwithhumancharacteristics
andmotivationshelpsconceptstobecomeimplicitly
understandable.Importantly,thesubjectisnotonly
identifiedasapersonbutisalsoimbuedwithparticular
characteristics.Inordertoexemplifywhatismeantby
this,letustakealookatthemetaphor“monarchsofthe
marketplace”usedinSamuelson’sEconomics(2005,p.
28):Samuelsoninitiallyspeaksmetaphoricallyof“tastes
andtechnology”assocalled“dualmonarchs”.Inano
therexamplehespeaksof“profits”as“rewardsand
punishments”,which“guide”themarketmechanism.He
goesontosay:“Likeafarmerusingacarrotandastick
tocoaxadonkeyforward,themarketsystemdealsout
profitsandlossestoinducethefirmtoproducedesired
goods”(ibid.).Tounderstandthecomplexmetaphorical
mappinginvolvedonemustlookattheirinherentlogical
ambiguities:Dotastesreallyguidethemarketmecha
nismoraretheysimplyforcesactingwithinit?Does“the
market”dealoutprofits,ordoprofitscoercecertain
resultsin“themarket”?Insteadofprovidingclarityon
theseissues,thetextbookcontinuestocallupanabun
danceofsimilarmetaphorswhichequallyimplicitlyand
diffuselycreatetheimageofanallpowerful,indistinctly
delineatedmonarchnoindividualeconomicparticipant
canwithstand.
Afurtherexampleofpersonificationinvolvesthe
conceptof“themarket”inSamuelsonsEconomicswhich
isdescribednotonlyasifitwereathing(ontological
metaphor),henceasmachineormechanism,butalsoas
anindependentlyactingindividual(personification)‐a
machinelikesubjectactingautonomously,guidingand
regulatingprocessesandoperatingaccordingtopre
definedplansorinthecontextoffixedconditions:“Yet
inthemidstofallthisturmoil,marketsareconstantly
solvingthewhat,how,andforwhom.Astheybalanceall
theforcesoperatingontheeconomy,marketsarefind
ingamarketequilibriumofsupplyanddemand”
(Samuelson&Nordhaus,2010,p.27,ouremphasis).
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Illustration1showsadiagramfromMankiw’stextbook:
Combiningentitymetaphorswithpersonificationsallows
anextensiveinterpretiveframeworktoemergecreated
bythecombinationof“themarket”metaphorwith
otherssuchas“system”,“mechanism”and“person”to
induceanimplicitunderstandingof“themarket”asa
superactorwiththequalitiesofamachine,i.e.withthe
regular,predictablecalculationsofacomputer,for
instance,coupledwiththehumanabilitytodecideand
actindependently.
Mankiw’suseofentitymetaphorsandpersonifications
todescribesocialprocessesinhisEconomicsis,inour
opinion,considerablymoresubtlethaninSamuelson’s
textbook.Forexample,Mankiwusesmechanicalmeta
phorslessfrequently;instead,hisuseoftheterm“for
ces”ismorecommonthanthatof“mechanism”.How
everthemetaphoroftheinvisiblehandandregulating
playerisusedofteninhisintroductorychapter(“the
‘invisiblehand’ofthemarketplaceguidesthisself
interestintopromotinggeneraleconomicwellbeing”;
2014,p.7,ouremphasis;“oneofourgoalsinthisbookis
tounderstandhowSmith’sinvisiblehandworksits
magic”;ibid.,p.8,ouremphasis).
Inotherways,however,“the
market”(orothersynonymous
lyusedterms)isjustasubiqui
touslyandselfevidentlyascrib
edqualitiesofanindependent
andsovereignplayer.Inthis
mannermarketeconomiesare
describedasorganizingecono
micactivityandaddressingkey
issuesofeconomicswhileprice
andselfinterestsguideecono
micdecisionmaking(2014,p.
7).
4.3Orientationalmetaphors
Mankiw’sEconomicsalsooffers
aparadigmaticexampleofthe
subtleuseoforientational
metaphorsineconomicstext
books.Orientationalmetaphorsrelyonfundamental
spatialandphysicalexperiences,suchasinsideand
outside,upanddown,leftandright,frontandback(cf.
Lakoff&Johnson,1980,p.14).Inastrikingexample,
Mankiwcompares“themarket”metaphoricallytoa
containerandtherebyintimatesalimitingboundaryas
wellasaninnerouterorientation:
“Freemarketscontainmanybuyersandsellersofnu
merousgoodsandservices”.(Mankiw&Taylor,2014,p.7;
ouremphasis)

“Competitivemarket.Amarketinwhichtherearemany
buyersandsellerssothateachhasanegligibleimpacton
themarketprice”.(Mankiw&Taylor,2014,p.42;ourem
phasis)
Whatthesemetaphorssuggestisthat“themarket”is
notmadeupofpeoplebutencompassesthem,asaglass
wouldwater,andwhichislikewisenotimpactedbyits
qualitiesorcharacteristics.Assuch“themarket”,under
stoodasacontainer,remainsinthistypeofframing
impassiveinthefaceofsocialprocessestakingplace
withinit.Themetaphorfurthersuggeststhateconomic
processescannotbedelineatedclearlyoutward;further,
whatlies‘beyond’or‘outside’itremainsunclear.The
suggestivepowerofthismetaphor,however,liesinits
abilitytotriggermoresubtleandwidelyunconscious
associationsconnectedtocommonexperiencesin
handlinganddealingwithcontainersandvesselssuchas
buckets,cupsandsaucersetc..
Wenowwouldliketodiscussonemoreexampleof
orientationalmetaphorusedbyMankiw,whichwe
considertoplayasignificantroleinstandardeconomic
textbooks.Itconcernstheimplicitframingofthetarget
domaininthecontextofspatialorientationssuchas
“up”,“down”,“right”,“left”and“atthesameplace”and
illustratedwiththehelpofdiagrams,yetwithoutany
consciousreflectiononthecontext’sappropriateness.
Source:Mankiw,2012,p.68.
Thediagramisdescribedasfollows:“Lawofdemand.
Theclaimthat,otherthingsbeingequal,thequantity
demandedofagoodfallswhenthepriceofagoodrises”
(2012,p.68,ouremphasis).Fromtheperspectiveof
cognitivelinguistics,bycombininggraphicandverbal
descriptions,phenomenaofquantity(demandbecomes
more)becomemetaphoricallyreinterpretedintermsof
spatialexpansionormovement:Bybeingabletoriseor
fall,amountsandpricesappeartomovelikespheresin
physicalspace.Moreprecisely:Thesentence“demand
falls”isametaphorbasedontheorientationmetaphor
“lessisdown“,thusalsoonnaturalphysicalexperiences
suchasaverticalbuildupofbuildingblocks.Themeta
phor“pricesrise”derivesinturnfromtheorientation
metaphor“moreisup”foundedequallyonbasicexperi
encessuchasanincreaseofwaterlevelswhenfillinga
glass.19
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Inthismannerhighlycomplexsocialphenomenasuch
aseconomicdemandbecomeimplicitlyapprehensible
becausetheirinterpretationisconceptuallyandintuit
tivelyreducedtonotonlytangiblebutalsoeasily
predictableandthusprincipallycontrollablephysical
conditionsofeverydaylife.Whatthetextbookneglects
todoistomakeitsanalogytophysicsexplicitandthus
itsconnectiontoadifferentfieldofknowledgeaccessible
toreason.Asaresult,readersarehardlycapableof
identifyingtheseanalogiesasmetaphors,ifatall,be
causetheytacitlydrawuponfundamentallycommon
physicalexperiences.Hence,knowledgeappearingcom
pletelyselfevidentwithinthecontextofitssource
domainisuncriticallyusedtoaugmentknowledgeina
targetdomain.Furtherresearchhastoinquire,ifand
howtheconstantuseoftermssuchas“rising”and“fall
ing”,whichbecauseoftheirrelationtoandexperience
withgravityanditsincontrovertiblepredictabilityinthe
contextoftheirsourcedomain,canactuallyleadtoa
completelyuncriticalunderstandingof“principles”inthe
economicsphere(cf.Mankiw’sexampleabove),which
becomestacitlyreinforcedbytherepetitiveandcon
sistentuseoforientationalmetaphorsinthesenseofthe
mentioned‘repatterning’or‘refreezing’.
5Emotionallyandideologicallychargingtheconceptof
“themarket”
Theexampleoforientationmetaphorsillustrateshow
standardeconomictextbooksembedmetaphorically
framedeconomictermsinwhatCognitiveLinguisticscall
deepseatedframestothepointwherestudentsbeginto
grasptheeconomywithouteverhavingtocriticallyre
flectonit.Thefactthatmetaphorshelpcomplexeco
nomicphenomenaappearmoreunderstandablesimply
byconnectingthemtophysicalexperiencedoesnot
mean,however,thatthesedeepseatedframesauto
maticallyalsoinvolvepoliticalideologicalvalue
judgments(cf.Wehling,2016,p.6162).20 Yetboth
standardtextbooksunderanalysisexhibitedinstancesof
implicitjudgmentwhichcanbedescribedasemotional
orideologicalframing.Thistypeofframingnotonly
makesaparticularsemanticinterpretiveframework
accessiblebutalsomakesamoraljudgment(cf.ibid).
Again,followingcognitivelinguistics,thisjudgmentdoes
nottakeplaceonthelevelofrationalthoughtbutrather
ontheleveloftheunconscious.
Here,too,afewexampleswillhelpusillustratethe
issue.Letusturntotheintroductorychapteron“Whatis
amarket?”bySamuelson.Astudyofthephrasinginthe
chaptershowsthatitisconsistentlystructuredaccording
toantagonisticdualismsinwhich“good”and“bad”
confronteachother.
Illustration2providesanoverviewofthedualisms
exhibitedinthischapter.
Verge of starvation
Mortal terror of a breakdown
Coercion
Centralized direction
Government
Control of economic activity
Government intervention
Central intelligence
High-Income countries
Private markets
Market mechanism
Voluntary trade
Improve own economic
situation
Invisibly coordinated
Doing very well economically
Sleep easily
Elaborate economic processes
Coordinated through the
market
Willingly
Elaborate mechanism
Communication device
Functioning remarkably well
Source:Authors’graphicdepiction.Sampleofdualismsfrom
“TheMarketMechanism”(cf.Samuelson&Nordhaus,2010,p.
26).
Inlieuofacleardefinitionof“themarket”,
Samuelson’stextbookstructurestheconceptaccording
tocomplimentaryorpositiveaspectsthroughdirectcon
nectiontotermssuchas“well”,“elaborate”,and“volun
tary”,seenontherightsideofthelistabove.Incom
parison,“themarket”iscontrastedbyqualitiesascribed
togovernment,exclusivelyassociatedwithwordscarry
ingnegativeconnotationssuchas“intervention”,“coer
cion”,and“starvation”withoutprovidinganyexplicit
empirical,historicalorotherformofdocumentationand
justificationtobackthisview.Thiscanbeidentifiedasa
caseofemotionalframing,sincebothsidesoftheanta
gonisticpolaritybetween“themarket”and“thenon
market”(Ötsch,2009,p.21)areeachdescribedina
mannertriggeringpositiveornegativefeelingsintuit
tively.Hence,everythingnotbelongingtothe“the
market”,i.e.the“nonmarket”,isdescribedinpejorative
contextsinwhichtermssuchas“mortalterror”and“ver
geofstarvation”appear,whileeverythingtodowith
“themarket”isexplainedaccordingtopositivelyconnot
edexpressionssuchas“sleepeasily”,“doingwell”.
Morestrikingexamplesofideologicalframingof“the
market”aretobefoundinbothtextbooks.Eachis
structuredalonga“BlackandWhiteFallacy”(cf.Hill,
2015,276).Forinstance,inSamuelson’sintroductionon
thesignificanceofstudyingeconomics,onereadsthe
following:
“Awordtothesovereignstudent:Youhavereadinhistory
booksofrevolutionsthatshakecivilizationstotheirroots
religiousconflicts,warforpoliticalliberation,struggles
againstcolonialismandimperialism.Twodecadesago,eco
nomicrevolutionsinEasternEurope,intheformerSoviet
Union,inChina,andelsewheretorethosesocietiesapart.
Youngpeoplebattereddownwalls,overthrewestablished
authority,andagitatedfordemocracyandamarketeco
nomybecauseofdiscontentwiththeircentralizedsocialist
governments.Studentslikeyourselvesweremarching,and
evengoingtojail,towintherighttostudyradicalideasand
learnfromWesterntextbookslikethisoneinthehopethat
theymayenjoythefreedomandeconomicprosperityof
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democraticmarketeconomies.”(Samuelson&Nordhaus,
2010,p.xxii)
Thesignificanceofeconomicseducationisimplicitly
placedinthecontextofpoliticalstrugglesthathavebeen
ideologicallyinterpretedinadvance.Thepoliticalseman
ticframeactivatedbySamuelsonintheabovequote
couldbeoutlinedasfollows:Anenemyisbuildingwalls,
therebylimitingfreedom;theenemyissustainedby
establishedpowersidentifiedassocialistsandcentralists
whothrowstudentsintojail.Theenemymakesyoung
peopleunhappy.Incontrasttothis,thereisasidethat
supportsfreedom,prosperityanddemocracy.The
argumentationisclearlybasedonthefollowing
ideologicalmodel:(absolute)Evilagainst(absolute)Good
(cf.Ötsch,2009,4041),whereby“Good”isalways
associatedwithone’sownside.Thiscreatestheideaofa
“dividedworldinwhichthereisaWEinaperennial
battlewithTHEOTHERS(Transl.fromÖtsch,2002,p.16
17).21
Thepassagesendsthefollowingimplicitmessage:This
handbookservesthegood.Bystudyingityouwillbelong
tothegoodguys,THEWE.Atthesametimeyouwillbe
drawndirectlyintothebattlebetween‚good‘and‚evil‘.
Ifothershavesacrificedthemselvesforthestrugglefor
“thegood”,whowouldselfishlycloserankswithTHE
OTHERS”,thebadguys,byrejectingthekindofeconomics
presentedinthetextbook,therighttowhichTHEWEhad
tofightsofiercelyfor?
Inshort,Samuelson’sintroductionimmediatelyacti
vatesanideologicalframewhichmeanwhilehaspro
bablybecomeatleastpartiallyestablishedinthe
unconsciousmindsofmanyWesternreaders,aframe
associatednotwithscholarshipbutwithpoliticalideo
logicaldebates.InthisframeSamuelsonendeavorsto
extendthesemanticframe‚EastversusWest‘,‚capi
talismversuscommunism’toinclude“themarket”or
marketeconomy.Withoutdefiningwhat“themarket”or
marketeconomyactuallyis,Samuelsonembedsthe
conceptwithinthesemanticframeofadivided,or
bifurcatedworldview.Thisoccursinmannerbywhich
“themarket”isautomaticallyplacedonathe‚right‘,i.e.
‚good‘side:
“Thebifurcated(dualistic)worldisconveyedbyabifur
catedlanguage(adualcode).themarketisonlyendowed
withpositivequalities.Itisdescribed[…]asgood,desirable,
worthwhile.[…]Thenonmarket,howeverisattributed
witheverythingthatisbad.[…]Languagemusttherefore
differentiateclearlybetweenthetwoparts.Abifurcated
languageisthemeansthroughwhichabifurcatedworldis
conveyed.”(Transl.fromÖtsch,2009,p.21)22
Additionally,thestudyofeconomicsitselfbecomes
linguisticallyintertwinedwiththenetworkofpositively
connotedconceptsoffreedom,prosperity,democracy,
marketeconomy.Samuelson’stextbookappearsonthe
sideofTHEWE,henceonthesideof‘good’.Whatis
essentialisthattheconfrontationbetween‘freedom’
and‘lackoffreedom’asdescribedbySamuelsonisinno
waysubstantiatedbyfacts:Noproofisgivenwhether
youngmenandwomentooktothestreetsorrisked
beingimprisonedintheSovietUnionoranywhereelse
fortherighttoreadSamuelson’stextbook.Norare
referencesmadetoexplicithistoricalplaces,personsor
relevantliterature.Samuelson’sintroductorytext
addressespoliticalideologicalexperiencesandtheir
correspondingemotions,notcriticalreasoning.Itthrows
studentsimmediatelyintoaheatedconflictwherelittle
opportunityisgiventoreflectonwhatsidetotake.
InMankiw’stextbooksimilarlypoliticallycharged,
black/white,dualistconceptualizationstakeplacewith
regardtothebattleofsystemsbetweenEastandWest,
communismandcapitalism,inwhich“themarket”isalso
embedded,eveniftheemotionalassociationsthey
engenderaremoresubtle.Adistinctiveexampleofa
politicallychargedconceptualizationinMankiwisfound,
forinstance,intheformulationofhis“TenPrinciples”,
whichseektoconveythecondensedessenceofeco
nomicthought.Concludingthissectionthepassageis
quotedinitsentiretysothatthereadercanformheror
hisownopinion:
“ThecollapseofCommunismintheSovietUnionand
EasternEuropeinthe1980smaybethemostimportant
changeintheworldduringthepasthalfcentury.
Communistcountriesworkedonthepremisethatcentral
plannersinthegovernmentwereinthebestpositionto
guideeconomicactivityandanswerthethreekeyquestions
oftheeconomicproblem.[...]Thetheorybehindcentral
planningwasthatonlythegovernmentcouldorganize
economicactivityinawaythatpromotedeconomicwell
beingforthecountryasawhole.Today,mostcountries
thatoncehadcentrallyplannedeconomies[…]have
abandonedthissystemandaretryingtodevelopmarket
economies.Inamarketeconomy,thedecisionsofacentral
plannerarereplacedbythedecisionsofmillionsoffirms
andhouseholds.[…]Atafirstglance,thesuccessofmarket
economiesispuzzling.Afterall,inamarketeconomy,no
oneisconsideringtheeconomicwellbeingofsocietyasa
whole.Freemarketscontainmanybuyersandsellersof
numerousgoodsandservices,andallofthemareinterest
edprimarilyintheirownwellbeing.Yet,despitedecentra
lizeddecisionmakingandselfinteresteddecisionmakers,
marketeconomieshaveprovenremarkablysuccessfulin
organizingeconomicactivityinawaythatpromotesoverall
economicwellbeing.”(Mankiw&Taylor,2014,pp.67)
6Conclusion
Theabovepresentedexamplesofhowmetaphorsare
tacitlyusedinstandardeconomictextbooks,followedby
adiscussionwhetherthisusecouldpromoteanunno
ticedtransformationoftheconceptualizationofthe
economyandhinderitscriticalreflection.Thereare,
however,broaderissuesinvolvedwhichmustbe
addressedbyfutureresearch,suchas:1)Towhatextent
aremetaphorsusedinstandardeconomictextbooks?2)
Whatistheimpactofthisuse,andhowcanitbe
verified?3)Towhatextentisthisimpactintentionalon
thepartoftheauthorsandifso,why?4)Istherea
correlationbetweentheuseofmetaphorsineconomic
textbooksandeconomictheoryandifso,howdidthis
evolve?
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Wewouldliketoaddressonelastbutimportantques
tion:Ifweweretoassumethattheuseofmetaphorsas
discussedabovepromotesuncriticalacceptancewith
regardtotheconceptualizationof“themarket”,howcan
thisimpactbecounteracted?Wewouldliketopointto
FriestadandWright(1984),whodevelopedpersuasion
knowledgemodelsbywhichtheactualsuccessofper
suasionstrategiescannotbemeasuredsolelybythe
qualityofthemethodsused.Rather,eachinstanceof
persuasionisdeterminedbytheinterplaybetweenthose
intendingtopersuadeandtherecipients’copingstra
tegies.Accordingtothisreasoning,therefore,itwouldbe
importanttorecognizethateverysingleeffortto
promotestudents’criticalreflectionhelpstoattenuate
theeffectofpersuasionstrategiesinstandardeconomic
textbooksthroughtheiruncriticaluseofmetaphors
independentofwhetherpersuasionwasintendedbythe
authorsandpublishersornot.
Inthisregardwewouldliketomentiontwosuccessful
examples