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 fund manager, economist, and writer. His most recent book is Money (2nd ed) published by Routledge. He is also a supporter of Big Issue Invest (BII), the investment arm of The Big Issue, and is one of the initial limited partners in BII’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund LP. In a personal capacity, he makes direct investments in social enterprises. He also supports and advises The Empathy Museum.

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