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Unmasking austerity - harsh lessons from Europe and North America

Professor Dexter Whitfield has written a very interesting paper on the failure of austerity in the Europe and North America for the Don Dunstan Foundation and Public Service Association of South Australia.

It's a worthwhile read for anyone wanting to understand the real problems that austerity has inflicted.

The paper documents the reasons why austerity has failed and its disastrous economic and social effects in Europe and North America.

The paper explains how with austerity, government debt continued to increase, reduced demand intensified the recession, negative or weak growth prevailed and the private sector failed to invest.

The cost of lost output, reduced wealth, mass unemployment and government intervention runs into trillions in any currency. Public spending cuts and closures increased poverty and widened inequality as working people and the poor were made to pay for the failure of the banks, financial markets and wealthy elites. Austerity advocates were equally committed to embedding neoliberalism in the public sector and the welfare state and reconfiguring the role of the state.

The paper also discusses the social costs of austerity: unemployment, especially among young people, millions of public sector job losses, and how cuts in wages, benefits and pensions have reduced take-home earnings by up to 20%.

You can read the report here.

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