Sunday, December 19, 2010

More ngram insights

Like Tyler Cowen, I've been playing around a lot with this. I think its probably best to share links - the graphs weren't very clear before. Here are some more thoughts...

1. Thomas Malthus seems to pass Jean Baptiste Say definitively after the Great Depression. There's no real surprise why, I think.

2. The battle of the founding fathers offered a few surprises. Its widely remarked that John Adams used to be much more widely respected until he fell into a period where nobody really cared about him. McCullough prides himself on rescuing him from obscurity (well... as obscure as a signer of the Declaration of Independence can be at least). However, I had no idea how much more discussion he got in the 19th century. Some of this might be other people named "John Adams" but I'm sure a lot is the former popularity of the pugnacious founder who gives this blog its name. I was also surprised that Washington's dominance didn't emerge until the 20th century - the same with Jefferson.

3. Here I have "technological unemployment" and "overproduction" in American English, and here I have it in British English. I knew "technological employment" as a phrase emerged in the early twentieth century, but I was surprised that "overproduction" wasn't really popular until the depression. "Overproduction" makes an appearence in British English in the 1830s, and in American English in the 1880s, when really heavy industrialization hit both countries. So where should we look for modern treatments of overproductionism? Apparently the UK. Whereas discussion of the term in America dropped off after the depression, the peak for the term in the UK was even higher in the 1980s than it was in the 1930s. Not sure what this is - but its worth looking up some of that literature.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.