Thursday, March 18, 2010

Discussion Question: Market Speak in Everyday Life

I have posted my first discussion question over at the Facebook group "The Broke is Beautiful Movement." I hope you will go over there to join in the discussion, or if you do not have Facebook, feel free to post to the comments here.

So I was watching the news yesterday at there was a feature on Robert Bobb, Detroit's emergency financial manager, and his plan to completely revamp the city's school system. What struck me (besides the fact that someone named their kid Bob Bobb) was that he said the schools needed to be re-invented from the ground up to "stay competitive."

Competitive? Businesses have to "be competitive" so they can win out and make bigger profits. But why are we applying this business terminology to something outside the market like educating our kids? Is it helpful to see our school systems as "competing" with one another to be the best?

By "competitive" I believe Mr. Bobb really meant "at level" or "successful" or "giving our kids the same quality education you'd expect from the best school systems." But to express that, the first thing that came to mind was market jargon.

So here are my discussion questions: Do you have an example of market-speak being applied to something that is not really part of "the market"? I hope you'll share it.

And second, when we use market place metaphors for other areas of life, how do you think it affects our thinking about the issue?