Coining Phrases for Fun and Profit: “Paradigm Mechanic” and “Peak Clutter” Are the New Ones

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First there was “The Four Horsemen of Structural Adjustment,” which showed up in my MA thesis on Canada’s squandering of an authentic human security agenda as our neoliberalism has made an economic colony of Haiti. I googled it and it was nowhere to be found in the context I determined. It’s all about how the IMF and World Bank cripple developing countries with conditions on their currency and development loans that lead to four of the worst of the ten elements of the Washington Consensus: rampant privatization, free trade, free capital flows, and government deregulation. Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine details the carnage of implementing neoliberalism.

But it took two years to come up with another google-free phrase: “Paradigm Mechanic” which erupted in a thoroughly inspiring conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about the paradigm shift we are on the cusp of. With the triple nexus, perfect storm of a collapsing neoliberal global economy, peak oil/water/food and climate change, we are going to be dragged into a new paradigm of economic, political and social existence…dragged because we are not pro-actively adjusting to mitigate the consequences of our rapacious global economy. And there are people who are already paradigm mechanics, inspiring me to build resilience in my local worlds: Thomas Homer-Dixon, Vandana Shiva, Maude Barlow, George Monbiot, Arundhati Roy, James Howard Kunstler. So while these and other folks are clear paradigm mechanics, our calling–for all of us–is to be paradigm mechanics. We need to tweak and [at times] smash elements of our current paradigm and fix it so our economy serves human beings and is respectful of our ecology and scarce resources.

And the last phrase coined came today. I was discussing an internal wiki page with a work colleague. It had been a work in progress over the last many months as a sort of to do list of meeting agenda items. My colleague found it was necessary to build a new wiki page to reflect a smoother arrangement of ideas because the current page was far too cluttered, in fact it had reached “Peak Clutter” where the rising curve of debris passed the falling curve of conceptual utility.

So. Feel free to use and propagate these new coined phrases. When I can figure out a royalty regime more effective than PayPal, I’ll let you all know.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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