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Austerity : the history of a dangerous idea /

by Blyth, Mark.
Type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2015, c2013Description: xiii, 322 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780199389445 (softcover : acidfree paper).Subject(s): Debts, Public | Budget deficits | Financial crises | Economic policy | Fiscal policy | Economic development | Income | This contribution to Bissell Library was made by the George B. Zotiades Memorial Fund
Contents:
Preface : austerity, a personal history -- 1. A primer on austerity, debt, and morality plays -- pt. I. Why we all need to be austere -- 2. America : too big to fail? : bankers, bailouts, and blaming the State -- 3. Europe, too big to bail : thee politics of permanent austerity -- pt. II. Austerity's twin histories -- Austerity's intellectual and natural histories -- 4. The intellectual history of a dangerous idea, 1692-1942 -- 5. The intellectual history of a dangerous idea, 1942-2012 -- 6. Austerity's natural history, 1914-2012 -- pt. III. Conclusion -- 7. The end of banking, new tales, and a taxing time ahead.
Summary: "Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts -austerity - to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our 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 placed 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 the author, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years 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 we do is shrink the economy. In the worst cases, austerity policies worsened economic depression and created the conditions for the rise of political extremism. As the author demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality"--Adapted from Amazon website.
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Includes bibliographical references (pages 273-311) and index.

Preface : austerity, a personal history -- 1. A primer on austerity, debt, and morality plays -- pt. I. Why we all need to be austere -- 2. America : too big to fail? : bankers, bailouts, and blaming the State -- 3. Europe, too big to bail : thee politics of permanent austerity -- pt. II. Austerity's twin histories -- Austerity's intellectual and natural histories -- 4. The intellectual history of a dangerous idea, 1692-1942 -- 5. The intellectual history of a dangerous idea, 1942-2012 -- 6. Austerity's natural history, 1914-2012 -- pt. III. Conclusion -- 7. The end of banking, new tales, and a taxing time ahead.

"Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts -austerity - to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our 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 placed 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 the author, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years 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 we do is shrink the economy. In the worst cases, austerity policies worsened economic depression and created the conditions for the rise of political extremism. As the author demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality"--Adapted from Amazon website.

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