Persuasive Terms

Definitions- ideas, philosophies

This section provides simple background definitions to help sort out fact from insult, fact from false praise.

Sorting fake news from truth is important but...

Public, blatant lying is not common in reputable media outlets and may be easier to manage than the less obvious forms of persuasion which often involve a prejudicial use of terms.

Political or economic terms are a major strategy in persuasion. The western system of capitalism has been successful in persuading at least the western public to its point of view but economics is increasingly controversial with much international instability/inequality. An understanding of economic and political terms is essential to an understanding of social/political and economic media messages.

(For the detailed classroom section on persuasive texts see:

10 Selected texts/analysis. Theme 1: Media and Politicians with texts, links, comment, analysis

Persuasive texts with texts, links, comment, analysis)

A wave of news, argument, opinion and propaganda is woven throughout daily media texts and can mold our daily opinions. Economics has held a central place in the media for decades if not centuries. Many social issues are related to economics.

Definitions- ideas, philosophies

  • Economics/Politics The terms below are key terms and ideas in the propaganda conflicts of the modern world. They are often used as insults and their meanings are often distorted beyond recognition. The effect of propaganda means the terms are also misused from ignorance or misinformation. Our goal is to progressively add definitions which may clarify (or not!) and your ideas will be most welcome.
    • Capitalism
    • Socialism
    • Communism
    • Right wing
    • Far right
    • Left wing
    • Radical Left
    • Far Left
    • Notes

    • Many dreadful practices have been carried out under the banners of both communism and capitalism which have little to do with either theory. E.g. assassinations, torture, discrimination, slavery, dictatorships, genocide
    • Many countries have a mix of private and public ownership
    • Neither socialism nor communism requires collective land ownership. Neither says you can’t own your own home.
    • There have only been a few Communist countries and it is questionable whether the original supporters of Communism would recognize some of the more infamous practices and policies carried out in these countries.
    • Similarly, Adam Smith, the 'father of capitalism', would likely find some of the policies and practices of modern capitalism, equally repugnant.


- a system which is based on private rather than public ownership of factories and businesses, energy companies, land, railways, banks, universities, schools etc.


- a system which favors a significant amount of public rather than private ownership. Usually applies to utilities or services such as energy suppliers, railways, banks, universities and schools but sometimes socialist communities have set up land collectives. Socialism does emphasize a significant role for workers in their respective industries.


- a system which is based on public ownership of the ‘means of production’, distribution or exchange e.g. all factories, businesses, railways, banks, universities and schools. Workers' collectives can make key decisions in their place of work. Public ownership of industry became a big issue in the period of early industrialization.

Right Wing

- pro capitalist ideas

Far Right

- supports the view that some groups (e.g. men) or races (e.g. whites) are superior to others; therefore, anti-migration, anti democracy, pro war, pro dictatorships, pro military governments. (Keeping a society unequal requires force.)

Left Wing

- pro socialist ideas

Radical Left

-in favour of a fundamental change to capitalistic system within democratic means

Far Left

- pro fundamental change to capitalist system whether by force or other means