Animals and Economics

Why are we so obsessed with animal imagery to explain economic phenomenon?  Bulls and bears are the most prominent example, but there are also Asian Tigers, the Chinese Dragon, and more recent (and irritating) Indian elephant and African Cheetah Generation.  My guess is that these symbols are much easier to process than the complex realities that actually characterize economies.  Like hero narratives dominate popular understandings of history (“Gandhi led India to freedom”, “Lincoln freed the slaves”), current situations are also more digestible when presented in simple terms.

Interestingly, animal metaphors seem to be preferred over industrial or mechanical ones (Chinese Rocket Economy?).  Does this represent an acknowledgement that, these change processes are organic and unpredictable, not mechanized and standardizable?  Probably not, but I still like the thought.

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