This is the first of our #StopAusterity Radar Series where we will collect and summarize a variety of articles on the topic of austerity politics in Europe. It serves as a summary of information for those interested in critical perspectives on austerity and its social, economic and political consequences.
For this #StopAusterity Radar we have collected some articles from the end of May-June.
International Voices against Austerity
It has been a good month for the anti-austerity movement. Several stakeholders in the field of economic development have published articles criticising austerity policies. One prominent example is the article by three economists of the IMF titled “Neoliberalism: Oversold?”. They assess the effects of two main neoliberal policies – capital account liberalization and austerity policy. They find that these policies are difficult to pin down in a positive relationship to economic growth and have furthermore lead to increases in inequality which hurt the level and sustainability of growth. Not surprisingly though, after many called the article by the IMF revolutionary, IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld published another statement saying that it had been misinterpreted. He emphasized that the IMF still stood with its core values of “open and competitive markets, robust macro policy frameworks, financial stability, and strong institutions”. We also published a policy brief on the IMF’s ideological controversies, which you can find here: English version, German version).
Just a week after the IMF, the OECD released its world economic outlook. They emphasize the need for public spending in order to fully recover from the crisis. An analysis is presented showing that an increase of 0,5% of GDP in public investment by all rich OECD economies would boost world growth by 0,4%. However we should be cautions and not too euphoric about these new OECD and IMF argumentations, as Economist Larry Elliot warns in the Guardian, because it is still to see if words will follow actions.
Bill Emmott, a former editor-in-chief of The Economist, also published an article on the blog of the World Economic Forum where he argues that it is “time to end the age of austerity”. He calls out governments to start spending again and “get fiscal” because the years of austerity have shown that its strategy is not working. Tip: It also includes an interesting graph!
Austerity, the media and public discourse
Another great find of this week is the new OpenDemocracy Series called “Media, Activism, Anti-Austerity”. It aims to explore the role of media in both supporting austerity and empowering its opponents. A variety of articles has already been published since its start at the end of May. Laura Basu, for example, looks at the development of the media discourse on the crisis and finds that the critical perspective got lost, what she calls “media amnesia”.
Johnna Montgomeries contribution also addresses the public discourse. In her article called “Austerity as a failed experiment” she calls for the conceptualization of austerity as an experiment to highlight the “contingent, contested and uncertain” characteristics of the elite-narrative. Another article titled “Spain: no country for old-men-politics” looks at gender, the media and politics of austerity in Spain. It describes the rise of women as leaders of anti-austerity movements on a local and regional level such as the mayors of Madrid and Barcelona. This article is also available in Spanish.
Austerity and the left
Lastly, Paul Mason published a comment in the Guardian where he demands more radical left action from the European left, following the success of the Spanish Podemos. He argues “it’s time for them to ditch austerity and free market economics, and get radical”.
Enjoy the reads! Please also send us interesting articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.