Jargon watch: truth decay

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Truth decay was a concept that I came across when reading Monocle’s Forecast issue.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Michael D Rich is the head of the The RAND Corporation – a not for profit think tank. When he was interviewed and described as being preoccupied with ‘truth decay’. Truth decay occurs when society and the body politic can’t even agree on basic facts.

  • Increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data
  • A blurring of the line between opinion and fact
  • The increasing relative volume and resulting influence of opinion and personal experience over fact
  • Declining trust in formerly respected sources of facts

Truth decay. One point that we’ve made over and over again is that no important problem can be solved in the US within the span of just a four-year presidency or a two-year Congress. And the way those problems have been surmounted in the past is consensus and compromise. That’s impossible if two sides can’t agree on the basic facts.

Thought Leaders – The Forecast 2020 Monocle magazine

All of this sounds like the rhetoric used to describe Vladislav Surkov and his work for the Russian government, or Dominic Cummings and Cambridge Analytica. The RAND Corporation is America’s foremost think tank. It spun out of Douglas Aircraft Corporation. From national security it expanded to social and economic areas. It now has its own grad school and nine different research facilities. It’s website is a good source of resources across a range of areas.