In a word: dirigiste

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be acquainted, another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:


You may be a free-market advocate, or you may favor governmental intervention in the economy. If you are the latter, you can call yourself a dirigiste (pronounced de-re-ZHEEST). It's a straight steal from the French, along with dirigisme (de-re-ZHEES'M), the policy of state direction and control of economic and social matters.

The words dating from the 1950s, come from the French diriger, and ultimately from its Latin antecedent, dirigere, "to direct." 

And you, the free-market advocate, may well pronounce it with a sneer, wrapping into that sneer the concept, its French origin, and the French pronunciation. 

Example: John Cochrane, writing at The Grumpy Economist blog: "I find the republican social conservatives' positions as noxious as much dirigiste democratic economic policy. Take your pick which is more dangerous to the country at a given moment."

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