Why Austerity Persists shows that some universally accepted policies used in response to economic crises are ineffective. Rather than increasing economic growth, austerity measures worsen inequality both between and within countries. The authors, Jon Shefner (University of Tennessee) and Cory Blad (Manhattan College), illustrate their argument effectively with case studies in five different regions: Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, the United States, and the European Union.

First, the authors explain the evolving definitions of austerity, which have moved beyond “resolving public debt.” In fact, in the 1990s the term implied cutting public expenditures, reducing basic subsidies on survival goods, devaluing currency, and raising prices. In 2004 an international network led by the World Bank and focusing on the global South defined austerity as “stabilization” programs that “imposed strict fiscal and monetary discipline on indebted countries as a condition...

You do not currently have access to this content.