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on 25 June 2013
Excellent account of how the world economy got into this hole and its leaders responded by digging deeper. Nice demotic style, with some great one-liners: "Smith's invisible hand had just given the public the finger". Lots of fascinating information, e.g. on German 'ordoliberalism' and the too-sensational history of Japanese monetary policy in the 1930s. The book has its faults, including signs of hasty writing and some garbling of the more theoretical material. More seriously, the author has a tendency to define his subject too broadly, mixing it up with other things he doesn't like such as neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus, and I don't think he makes quite enough effort to persuade readers who aren't already sympathetic to his point of view. I hope Blyth does succeed in changing minds, as the topic is massively important and he says the right things about it.
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on 15 April 2016
An alternative view on Public Financing that many ought to take seriously into consideration...
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on 20 April 2013
Fantastic critique of right wing ideology dressed up as economic fact.It shows why little boy osbourne has made a right mess of the economy.They say you cannot spend your way out of debt but you certainly cant grow by spending less,when everyone else is doing the same.Explains quite complex economics so even I could sort of understand it.Maybe they could bring out an idiots guide and then the tories could read it too.
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on 21 May 2013
This is a book by a British economist lecturing at a university in the US who opposes current Western government austerity policies root and branch. It is published in the US but actually contains more material of interest to the European than to the American reader. In particular, its damning verdict on the euro is worth studying, because it comes from an author who remains convinced of the value of the European project in political terms.
In its racy, almost colloquial style, the book appears to be pitched at the general reader: it is very readable--but it is so peppered with jargon that is not always explained, that understanding, as opposed to reading, is rather more difficult. Krugman, a Nobel laureate in economics, demonstrates in his books on similar subjects that the use of a great deal of jargon is not necessary.
What is more, if you are going to try to impress with jargon like Soziale Marktwirtschaft and Wirtschaftswunder (describing the postwar German economy), then make sure that either you or your proofreader can spell these terms!
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on 15 May 2015
Not the easiest read for a non-economist.
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on 17 November 2016
An excellent book that some may not agree with.
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on 20 July 2015
This is a clear and concise account of the complete failure of austerity economic policies which have been tried and tested over the last 100 years throughout the western world. It should be required reading for all UK and European Union politicians
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on 11 July 2013
I have always known that George Osborne's policies were wrong - it just seemed so obvious: how is it possible to force contraction on an economy, increase unemployment, scrap public services (then be forced to pay unemployment benefit), bring in consultants at a much higher price to replace the sacked public service workers and expect the economy to grow when all of this country's major trading partners are doing the same thing? The public debt was not created by spending on the public, it was created by bailing out the private sector (Banks) but, as yet, there is no legislation following the Vickers Report and the Tyrie, Parliamentary Commission report has been all but rejected. So in the UK we have austerity, wrecked public services and all to support bankers' bonuses and failed, reckless governance, which is left as it was ready to replicate moral hazard and pass the bill onto the state. However this book, which is quite academic, shows why austerity cannot work and how it has failed time and time again - even where it may have 'appeared' to work. We need rid of the current treasury team - send them back to the Bullingdon Club - after all it is a club dedicated to wrecking but at least the real culprits pick-up the tab.
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on 12 February 2017
Very good account of an unpopular subject.
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on 6 June 2013
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.
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