Cliche of the Week 79 – Patchwork Economy

February 20, 2012 at 9:41 am 2 comments

The economy is either a patchwork stitched with fraying thread or it has two speeds– turbo-charged full speed ahead or a jolting reverse.

News reports use these easy labels for Australia’s economy up to 500 times a month from a low of 20 a month two years ago.

According to the Factiva database, Julia Gillard used “patchwork economy” publicly for the first time on October 12, 2010, at the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane.

However, the phrase was in use long before that.

It appears in 1986 in The Washington Post and the following year in Canada, a country that also has a mining boom and uneven economic growth.

Jack McArthur could have been describing Australia when writing in the Toronto Star in 1987: “Canada has always been a crazy quilt of stark contrasts existing side by side — boom and bust, soaring optimism and deep despair, fat-cat complacency and bitterness at what are seen as failures to meet the difficulties of areas under-privileged at any moment.”

More recently other parts of the world have started to identify more than one gear.

“Brazil, however, has not been immune to the global economic slowdown, with evidence developing of a `two-speed’ economy” (Financial Times, November 18).

Cliche of the Week appears in The Australian newspaper Mondays.

Cliches in the media are tracked across the world using Factiva and Dow Jones Insight.

Chris Pash’s book, The Last Whale, a true story set in the 1970s, was published by Fremantle Press in 2008.

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Entry filed under: Cliche of The Week.

Cliche of the Week 78 – In the trenches Cliche of the Week 80 – Deep Pockets

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. TJ Johnston  |  February 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Are these cliches in U.K. Commonwealth nations? I don’t find these terms too often in U.S. papers.

    Reply
  • 2. chrispash  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    This is written from Australia but covers the English-speaking world

    Reply

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