What Google Search figures teach us

Submitted by martin on 8 January, 2018 - 5:08 Author: Martin Thomas
Google Trends

Some political tides are flowing our way a bit, but not as much as we might hope. Google's latest figures from their web search engine, released in December 2017, show that the number of people taking to the web to find out more about "socialism" is increasing in Britain, though modestly.

The worldwide picture is less encouraging. It shows spikes after the economic crash in 2008-9, and in early 2016, with publicity for Sanders and Corbyn, but no increasing trend.

Searches for the term "capitalism" - inquiries by people who have probably realised, to one degree or another, that they live in a social world given not by nature but by a particular, historically-specific system - worldwide show a spike after 2008 but then a decline.

In Britain, however, there is a modest increase in searches for "capitalism", and, oddly, no particular spike in 2008-9.

The numbers of searches for "Workers' Liberty" is disappointingly constant. The rows in Momentum in 2016 brought us a lot of hostile publicity, but you might reasonably hope that hostile publicity would also stimulate curiosity.

Searches for the terms "Marxism", "working class", Trotsky show no rising trend since 2007. The same for inquiries about "inequality", which may show people seeking accounts of how and why polarisation between rich and poor has been increasing.

Searches for "Trotskyism" show a spike in August 2016, and a tentative rising trend. Google reports the countries from which most searches for particular terms come. Those for "Trotskyism" have come mostly from Britain and Ireland, with Australia no.3.

Searches for "Trotskyism" seem to do better than searches for the equivalent French and German terms (trotskysme, Trotzkismus), but the equivalent Spanish term, Trotskismo, shows a comparable tentative rise, mostly from Bolivia and Argentina.

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