Review of Mark Blyth’s Austerity

Austerity is a superb and timely book. There are many books on the financial crisis and on Europe, but none have dissected the policy response as comprehensively as Blyth. His central argument that austerity is self-defeating when implemented by many countries simultaneously is supported by logic and evidence. All presented, here, in detail, and balanced with entertaining stories and quips.

Also unique is Blyth’s archaeology of the idea. Nowhere else is the origin of German and Italian thinking on the subject explained so thoroughly.

This is no naive or fanciful history of ideas. Repeatedly, Blyth explores the issue of who benefits most from the ideas expounded by thinkers and taken up by policy makers. This is eye-opening and devastating. Austerity is not just a failed policy, but a punitive redistribution from the weak to the affluent. After reading Blyth, it is hard to believe this is coincidence.

No one else writing in economics can capture so much so succinctly, and so humorously. I hope the German translation sells well.

About The Author

Eric Lonergan is a macro hedge fund manager, economist, and writer. His most recent book is Supercharge Me, co-authored with Corinne Sawers. He is also author of the international bestseller, Angrynomics, co-written with Mark Blyth, and published by Agenda. It was listed on the Financial Times must reads for Summer 2020. Prior to Angrynomics, he has written Money (2nd ed) published by Routledge. He has written for Foreign AffairsThe Financial Times, and The Economist. He also advises governments and policymakers. He first advocated expanding the tools of central banks to including cash transfers to households in the Financial Times in 2002. In December 2008, he advocated the policy as the most efficient way out of recession post-financial crisis, contributing to a growing debate over the need for ‘helicopter money’.

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