Thursday, August 18, 2016


I have never really approved of austerity. In the UK at least it was implemented in a way that tried to disguise an ideological urge as a practical need. It is thus both ironic and appropriate that the Cameron-Osborne regime was ultimately undone by Brexiters who, with varying success, went about dressing up their baser instincts as a highminded crusade.

Anyway, I am fairly sure the British economy would have done better under the sort of economic policies implemented by Obama in the wake of the great crash.

It should be noted that here in Latin America the two nations undergoing the most stringent austerity regimes are Venezuela and Cuba, ostensibly the most socialist. It's a bit of a dance of death for this pair now, as one sinks to new depths the other has to adjust and fall with it.

A month ago President Castro told the Cuban National Assembly that growth had fallen from 4.7% to just 1% in the past year and that big cuts would be required to turn things around, including a reduction in energy consumption of 6% and fuel consumption by 28%, plus fewer imports. The government would also reduce credit and liquidity across the state sector i.e. most of the economy.

Bound to work.

The less said about Venezuela the better.

Perhaps austerity has been widely adopted as the appropriate corrective to perceived socialist-induced mayhem, which is why it didn't happen in the USA and why in Latin America it has to be done by socialists themselves - because the people don't have so many opportunities to vote them out.

One thing that can be said about ideological conservatives is that they are less prone to blaim the failures of their boneheaded policies on the likes of 'exploiters, manipulators, speculators and opportunists' along Cuban and Venezuelan lines.

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