"A lot of people -- Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Mark Blyth and Yanis Varoufakis, to name some prominent names -- have written that austerity does not work, especially in the middle of an economic downturn (as it was practised in many developing countries under the World Bank-IMF Structural Adjustment Programs in the 1980s and the 1990s and more recently in Greece, Spain and other Eurozone countries).
Many of those who push for austerity do so because they genuinely (albeit mistakenly) believe that it works, but those who are smart enough to know that it doesn't still would use it because it is a very good way of shrinking the state (and thus giving more power to the corporate sector, including the foreign one) and changing the nature of state activities into a pro-corporate one (e.g., it is almost always welfare spending that goes first).
In other words, austerity is a very good way of pushing through a regressive political agenda without appearing to do so. You say you are cutting spending because you have to balance the books and put the house in order, when you are actually launching an attack on the working class and the poor."
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