Evaporative Economics: A Truth-Telling Metaphor to Displace the Trickle-Down Lie that Just Won’t Die

Cory Wright-Maley, Delandrea Hall, Shakealia Y Finley


Trickle down economics is a fallacious metaphor that hurts working people and the civic commons. In this paper, we discuss the role and impact metaphors have in economics education. We explore the stickiness of “truthy”, but ultimately false, metaphors and offer to economics educators alternative metaphors with which to displace this problematic metaphorical language. In its place, we propose a restorying of this fiction to tell a more truthful story in economics classrooms using the dual metaphors of evaporative economics and economic desertification. We end by identifying the limitations of metaphorical language in the teaching of complex economic concepts, even while we recognize the power of these tools to elicit engagement in and with economics content that has real and lasting impacts on individuals and communities.


economics education; economic justice; economic policy; economic language; metaphor; trickle down economics; supply side economics;

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