Europe’s Age of Austerity – Riz Khan

23rd June 2010

Last night I joined Riz Khan on his Al Jazeera evening show to discuss the budget and the dangers of synchronised austerity. Watch the video below:


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2 comments to Europe’s Age of Austerity – Riz Khan

  • Dr L Brownstein

    I thought one of your best points, among many, was the one where you point out that with a fragile banking sector and a weak private sector (which I would like to mention is not and has not been supported by the banks), there is now a move to weaken the public sector. A kind of triple whammy if you will.

    This is a bad case scenario and Europe seems to be walking if not blissfully at least somewhat unconcernedly into it. Osborne’s contention that unless we follow his Plan A, we are on a road to ruin has no supporting evidence. What historical evidence there is – 1930s, Japan – indicates that the opposite is true.

    This crisis perhaps hasn’t been as bad as the 1930s because there wasn’t a welfare state then. How bad might this crisis might have been and could still be for the average person were there no welfare state is something to consider. One positive economic benefit of a welfare state that is virtually never mentioned is that it facilitates a minimal degree of economic redistribution.

    Your comment on the rise of fascism is pertinent in another way as well. It is too often forgotten that during the 1930s, a coterie of the rich in the US plotted to remove Roosevelt from office by means of a military putsch. The day was saved by a Roosevelt-hating democrat, Brigadier General Smedley Butler. The plotters were engaged in this because they hated Roosevelt’s fiscal policies and envisaged that such policies would destroy capitalism (Keynes mentioned to Roosevelt that City denizens were worried that any fiddling with capitalist activity would bring doom in its wake). In effect, minimal redistribution to the poor they conceived would lead to the destruction of their comfortable livelihoods. Then they got the war budget and were contented once again.

    Just as you are not intimating that there will be riots, I am not suggesting for a minute that the rich will engage in treasonous acts. But they are doing what they can to put a breaker on any redistribution they can. For example, they threaten to leave and take their businesses somewhere more conducive to their personal interests, forget the social and public interest. My view is that the sooner they go the better, as their business is dangerous to society’s health.

  • I would think that it’s not just “worrying” but appalling what the Treasurer is doing and has done.

    Look at http://bit.ly/dthNsF and you’ll see how the trend that in motion by the “crisis” is continued. I.e. the Bank of England is in now even more in charge than ever, and it is scandalous that politicians only think of taxation and borrowing, never of printing their own money.

    When the Bank of England does it as “quantitative easing”, it’s supposed to be ok.
    See http://bit.ly/cVPxOJ

    The degree of ignorance of what “money” is and who creates it how is shameful.

    More on http://publicdebts.org.uk

    Sabine
    Organiser, Forum for Stable Currencies
    http://www.forumforstablecurrencies.org.uk

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