Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Business
Economics

Anxiety Spikes Among G-20, An Analysis of UN Speeches Shows

Words like “fear” and “uncertainty” are more common than last year amid competing global crises
France's President Francois Hollande addresses the 71st session of United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on Sept. 20.

France's President Francois Hollande addresses the 71st session of United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on Sept. 20.

Photographer: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Syria’s civil war. North Korean nuclear tests. Brexit. Turkey’s failed coup. A volatile U.S. election. This jarring backdrop was hard to miss as world leaders stepped up to the familiar green marble dais during this week's United Nations General Assembly.

Heads of state and government representing the world’s largest economies used words like “fear,” “uncertainty,” “risk,” and “terror” 87 percent more often on average than during last year's gathering, according to an analysis by Adam Tiouririne, a leadership communication adviser at Logos Consulting Group.