The False Advertising of Austerity

Austerity: the History of a Dangerous IdeaAusterity doesn’t work. Period. Insofar as the fossil record contains a few cases of what look like “expansionary fiscal consolidations,” … these cases are either driven by factors other than what the austerity proponents maintain, or those proponents simply get the case wrong. Expectations leading to confidence fairies really are a fairy story. The few positive cases we can find are easily explained by currency devaluations and accommodative pacts with trade unions. In general, the deployment of austerity as economic policy has been as effective in us bringing peace, prosperity, and crucially, a sustained reduction of debt, as the Mongol Golden Horde was in furthering the development of Olympic dressage. It has instead brought us class politics, riots, political instability, more rather than less debt, assassinations, and war. It has never once “done what it says on the tin.”

—Mark Blyth
Austerity: the History of a Dangerous Idea

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