Aug 042013

There’s a very good book by David Stuckler & Sanjay Basu ‘The Body Economic – Why Austerity Kills‘. Rather than attacking the problems of the Great Recession from a business or a moral point of view, the authors instead drawn on their expertise as healthcare statistical analysis experts. They provide examples of different recessions at different points in recent economic history and compare the impact of austerity policies on the health of the people who are affected by them. Russia as a post-Soviet experiment when it attempted to ‘Shock’ capitalism into the former state controlled economic system. Thailand following the Asian Economic Crisis of the 1990s, and America, Europe and Iceland following the great crash of 2008.

They come to a pretty stark conclusion, that “Ultimately austerity has failed because it is unsupported by sound logic or data. It is an economic ideology. It stems from the belief that small government and free markets are always better than state intervention. It is a socially constructed myth – a convenient belief among politicians taken advantage of by those who have a vested interest in shrinking the role of the state, in privitising social welfare systems for personal gain. It does great harm – punishing the most vulnerable, rather than those who caused recession”.

Read this book and then ask yourself how social democrats in the United Kingdom can better challenge the austerity-nutters who are running the British economy and ripping-up our social provision, and leaving more people to fend for themselves.

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