Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea
Conservatives in America have succeeded in casting government spending as useless profligacy that has made their economy worse, centering the policy debate in the wake of the financial crisis on draconian budget cuts. Americans are told that they need to live in an age of austerity since they have all lived beyond their means and now need to tighten their belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer. That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past two years of trying and countless other historical examples show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all that happens is a shrinking economy. Second, it relies upon those who didn't make the mess to clean it up, which is always bad politics. Third, it rests upon a tenuous and thin body of evidence and argumentation that acts more to prop up dead economic ideas and preserve astonishingly skewed income and wealth distributions than to restore prosperity for all. In Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, Blyth demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we recognize austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - seabear - LibraryThing
Joe Hockey's first budget as Federal Treasurer has been generating a flurry of discussion in the media in Australia over the last week or two. His approach seemed to be cut straight from the European ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
adjustment Alberto Alesina Alesina Ardanga argued assets austerity austerity policies austerity’s Austrian Austrian school bail bailout banking system big to fail bond boom budget bust capital central bank chapter conﬁdence consumption costs countries currency deﬁcits deflation democracy devaluation economic economists euro Europe European banks Eurozone exchange rate expansionary austerity exports fallacy of composition ﬁgure ﬁnance ﬁnancial ﬁnancial crisis ﬁnd ﬁrms ﬁrst ﬁscal funding German Germany’s Giavazzi global gold standard government debt Greece growth Hume Ibid ideas income increase inflation institutions instruction sheet interest rates investment investors Ireland Keynes Keynesian labor Latvia liberal liquidity loans ment monetarism monetary moral hazard mortgage neoliberal nomic ordoliberal percent of GDP political private—sector problem proﬁts REBLL repo repo market risk role Schumpeter sector signiﬁcant slump Smith so—called sovereign debt Spain spending terity theory tion trade unemployment United University Press wages Washington Consensus