Word of the year 2016

Nothing to do with the ice caps

It’s that time of the year when various bodies such as the American Dialect Society and Global Language Monitor nominate the word of the year (WOTY).

Not to be outdone, at VoxSapiens we would like to nominate our word of the year.

Our thinking is along the lines of the Oxford English Dictionary’s nomination of post-truth and dictionary.com’s nomination of xenophobia. We see Brexit, Trumpquake and woke, all contenders for WOTY, as key arenas for use of both the OED’s nomination and ours.

But we see the issue as more than post-truth. We see a fundamental change in the world developing.

For that reason, we nominate POLARIZATION as our word of the year.

Why polarization?

Well we see divisions widening in society, particularly divisions in beliefs.

One way that the polarization is evident is through the post-truth dialogue. But increasing polarization is also evident in other areas.

For example, the Brexit vote has polarized the British population. The middle ground is yielding to more extreme pro-EU and anti-EU opinions in a manner much more fundamental than the post-truth claims by both sides in the debate.

And Beyonce’s masterpiece Formation, and #BLM in general, continue to highlight the divisions in American society.

Similarly, Trump’s campaign exposed an increasing polarization between the professionals and the semi-skilled / unskilled. Incredibly, one of America’s richest capitalists appealed to those who have lost forever their lifestyles and standards of living. Trump’s claims that his policies will withstand globalization and bring back manufacturing and primary industry jobs to the USA are just plain ridiculous, like the mumblings of a reincarnated King Canute. Those jobs are gone forever; for the time being to low wage economies; longer term to automation. And low skill service jobs, where delivery cannot be off-shored, will soon follow as automation improves.

Contrastingly, highly educated and skilled professionals are less easily replaced by foreign workers or automation. Their futures are bright and increasingly distinct from the futures of their lesser educated / skilled countrymen.

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