Letter: Anglo-Saxon world

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I do wish Hamish McRae and everyone else would stop using the tendentious, racist and meaningless term "Anglo-Saxon" to describe an allegedly distinct species of country ("Why Anglo-Saxon nations have the fastest-growing economies", 3 September). I mean: Ireland? Singapore?

What precisely is the claim here? Is it about models of governance, consumer psychology, language, or what? McRae's broad and breezy brushstrokes lurch around all three without properly distinguishing them. Equally elastic are his definitions of who counts as the master race for this purpose.

What time-frame are we talking about? The US may be riding high now, but when (not if) Wall Street "corrects" then the propensity to spend that McRae celebrates will turn swiftly from virtue to vice. Anyhow, with growth picking up in Europe and East Asian countries like Korea moving rapidly (pace McRae) out of recession, this allegedly differential performance by regions looks set to have a limited shelf-life.

More to the point is the language issue - not Anglo-Saxons but Anglophones, to paraphrase Pope Gregory. But here, McRae hasn't kept up. The current Far Eastern Economic Review leads on how firms such as America Online and British Airways are shifting back-office jobs - payroll, e-mail, call centres - to wherever is cheap and speaks English. The main winners are India and the Philippines (Africa has potential too).

More honorary Saxons for McRae? Or can we just dump this stupid sobriquet once and for all?


Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea

Leeds University