Review of Keynesian Economics

Fiscal austerity, the Great Recession and the rise of new dictatorships

Hassan Bougrine * *

Keywords: austerity, fiscal policy, deficit, debt, creative state

Abstract

Austerity measures have been tested in developing countries for several decades under the pseudo name of ‘structural adjustment programmes’ following the recommendations and under the supervision of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Evidence indicates that the economic and social consequences of these policies have been so disastrous that there is now more poverty and more inequality than a generation ago. The same scenario is being proposed as the alternative to what has hitherto been labeled a social-democratic economic system in industrialized nations. The economically dominant minority has largely succeeded in imposing its neoliberal agenda by convincing the general public, through various means, of the need for austerity. The paper challenges the erroneous theories on which austerity is based and proposes an alternative explanation to what is the ‘best practice’ in public finance. It argues that deficit spending by the government is an important policy tool that can be successfully used to guarantee full employment and create wealth and prosperity for the whole society.

Author Notes

I thank a referee of this journal for useful suggestions and constructive comments. Any remaining errors or shortcomings are mine.

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