Sunday, November 25, 2007

Phrase watch

In 1973, Erica Jong wrote a book titled Fear of flying. The instant success of the book made the phrase famous and recognisable: Google shows 981,000 occurences.

In 2000, Guillermo Calvo and Carmen Reinhart used Fear of floating as the title of a paper. The paper was very influential, and the phrase `fear of floating' along with the acronym FoF have gone mainstream in international economics. Google shows 58,900 occurences - roughly one-sixteenth of `fear of flying'.

At Suman Bery's seminar on MIFC a few months ago, I thought I came up with the phrase `fear of finance' on the fly, but googling shows 143,000 occurences - even more than `fear of floating'. All three phrases have a nice f sound, but I guess `fear of finance' is a more mainstream issue than `fear of floating'.

Another mainstream, and evocative, phrase is fog of war for which which google reports 972,000 hits. The wikipedia entry says it goes all the way back to Clausewitz.

Now I have seen a new phrase fog of finance trying to make its way. Right now google shows 1600 hits. I'm not that enthusiastic about it. I use `fear of floating', `fog of war', and `fear of finance' in my ordinary speech, but I don't yet feel the same about `fog of finance'.

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