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United States: Wikipedia – Economics as a campaign platform for Republicans and Democrats

Smart politicians know: if you repeat a statement often enough, no matter how ridiculous it is, it will be remembered, and there will be something to it. The master of this tactic is former US President Donald Trump, for example, who during the election campaign usually referred to his opponent as “crooked Hillary”, meaning a woman who cannot be trusted. Or “Sleepy Joe” by Joe Biden.

When it comes to the economic issue, there is another matter. Let’s talk about developments, desirable but above all undesirable. Imposing something in the subconscious mind through spells like mantra can have tangible economic effects. It is against this backdrop that the curious controversy over “recession” currently featured in the English-language version of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, should be seen.

of Article about it It has been edited several times by unregistered users in the past few days. That in itself would not be unusual. After all, Wikipedia’s goal is to harness the knowledge of many people, known as crowd intelligence. But now registered and experienced Wikipedians have blocked article editing by non-registered users until August 4. Because users usually don’t change without feedback, discuss possible changes on the discussion page provided for this purpose. But it was criminally ignored here for political reasons, presumably.

Background: There is a controversy in the United States as to whether or not the country is in a recession. The Democratic-run White House wants to avoid the infamous R-word. Federal banker Janet Yellen also uses it sparingly – knowing full well that every word she says, whether spoken or sometimes unspoken, is carefully analyzed and evaluated. The political opponent, of course, is Republicans, a Democrat who wants to cast Biden’s government in the worst possible light. This political controversy has now been carried over to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. While the Biden side wants nothing to do with the recession, his detractors argue otherwise. But who now?

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Just before the new US GDP figures were announced, “recession” was defined in a more abstract way.

The word recession comes from Latin. Verb Back off Withdrawal means withdrawal. Applied to economics, it is clear at the outset what this means: if economic output falls, an economy is in reverse gear, i.e. in recession. So the Biden detractors would be right. A frequently heard definition of recession is when economic output declines for two consecutive quarters.

However, experts are not completely unanimous. Germany’s leading economic researchers calculate somewhat differently. As Helmut Kohl said, they first calculate what an economy can actually achieve and then compare it with what actually comes out later. In scientific German, potential is called productive capacity. When an economy shrinks its capacity for two consecutive quarters, researchers at leading economic institutions call it a recession.

Wikipedia has always offered a variety of definitions, but just before new figures for US gross domestic product (GDP) were due, the encyclopedia article’s introduction suddenly stated very simply: “Economists generally see two consecutive declines in GDP rather than a recession.” However, the relevant passage is not found in the main text, nor is the claim supported by a single source. When Wikipedia editors deleted the column, it reappeared several times in a row after a while. That’s why the editors put an end to intimidation and allowed changes only to registered users.

Opinion wars are not uncommon on Wikipedia. However, they are usually not carried out by unauthorized changes without prior consultation or discussion, but rather on discussion pages. Therefore, suspicions arise that political opponents of the Biden administration are trying to harm him. Anyone who hears the word “recession” in the news and looks it up briefly on Wikipedia should think the matter is settled. But it can also be seen as influencing voters through diction.

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