Join us at Roosevelt House for a timely conversation about one of today’s most urgent policy questions – whether government spending is reckless wastefulness, as many argue, or whether the policy of draconian budget cuts has failed. In his acclaimed book Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, Mark Blyth, professor of international political economy at Brown University, demonstrates how and why the global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget, hasn’t worked.
In conversation with Andrew J. Polsky, Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science at Hunter College, Professor Blyth will discuss recent examples of a policy that he shows has failed for a century. While it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, Blyth argues, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. In their discussion, professors Blyth and Polsky will examine why the arguments for austerity are tenuous and why austerity policy has almost always led to low growth and to increases in wealth and income inequality. They will also discuss how to counteract these trends with effective economic policies for the future.
Paul Krugman, in The New York Review of Books, wrote, “One of the especially good things in Mark Blyth’s Austerity is the way he traces the rise and fall of the idea of ‘expansionary austerity’, the proposition that cutting spending would actually lead to higher output. As Blyth documents, this idea ‘spread like wildfire.'”