6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
National debt was higher in 200 of the past 250 years,
This review is from: Who Needs the Cuts?: Myths of the Economic Crisis (Paperback)
This book provides an excellent example of how mainstream journalists allow themselves to promote an establishment or even government narrative with little attempt to investigate and challenge. We see how once a `consensus' is established, most journalists seem to lack the courage or even just a professional curiosity to probe behind the official message. It seems, they don't want to rock the boat and at worst be side-lined for having eccentric views. Sticking with the official narrative is the safest way to play it.
The book focuses on the case made by the coalition government for austerity measures, and how so many leading journalists preferred to `go along' with an official narrative rather than probe for alternative view points, or even to challenge politicians on some very misleading statements.
We learn that while we were being told `the UK is on the brink of bankruptcy':
- National debt was half what it was when Harold MacMillan declared "you never had it so good" in 1957.
- National debt had been higher in 200 of the previous 250 years.
- UK had a lower national debt than USA, Germany, France and Japan.
- The recent rise in debt was not due to over-spending by the previous government, but due to a reduction in tax revenue, resulting from a rapidly slowing economy - which the cuts only slowed further, pushing the debt even higher.
Many similar examples of an alternative perspective are provided in a very readable account.
The book makes a clear case that there was a valid alternative to severe austerity. In fact, we have seen since, some commentators, and even the IMF coming round to a similar view. It also highlights the very questionable policies of bailing out the banks at any cost, while letting the rest of society take the blame and the pain.