There is a new Ted Talk online. It mentions a fascinating tool. The Google Books n-Gram viewer. As you know, Google has scanned millions of books and used OCR to scan the text. That means that you can do statistics and this is the tool to do that. It can show you the frequency at which certain expressions show up in English literature published in certain years.
I will leave it to you and you fancy to try out whatever you want (E.g.: electric cars). But if you try the word group “wage increases” or the word “industrial”, the result is just astonishing.
Beginning with 1980, the frequency of those expressions drops consistently and steadily within a mere 25 years. The words “wage increases” were mentioned in books written in the year 1980 four times more often than in 2005. And guess what, they didn’t happen. The frequency of the word “industrial” halved in the same time frame, along with industry in the English speaking world.
When people suddenly start writing much less about industry and about wage increases, when people suddenly start to avoid words like “social” and talk less about “social security” when a Republican lunatic becomes US President – that says something about undeniable changes in society … and not for the better.
Or perhaps it merely says something about my ability to become excited for about an hour or so. Because if you do search for four letter words, it becomes rather obvious, that the kind of literature that Google has been scanning or included into its catalog must have changed quite dramatically recently. So, take the above with whatever measure of salt you deem appropriate.