01 juin 2013

NYT- NYRB - How Austerity Kills



L'austérité tue, Courrier International - 1178, 30.05.2013

Les articles en anglais :
- How Austerity Kills,
David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu - Op-Ed Contributors, The New York Times, May 12, 2013

extraits :
« As scholars of public health and political economy, we have watched aghast as politicians endlessly debate debts and deficits with little regard for the human costs of their decisions. Over the past decade, we mined huge data sets from across the globe to understand how economic shocks — from the Great Depression to the end of the Soviet Union to the Asian financial crisis to the Great Recession — affect our health. What we’ve found is that people do not inevitably get sick or die because the economy has faltered. Fiscal policy, it turns out, can be a matter of life or death ».

« One need not be an economic ideologue - we certainly aren't - to recognize that the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives. We are not exonerating poor policy decisions of the past or calling for universal debt forgiveness. It's up to policy makers in America and Europe to figure out the right mix of fiscal and monetary policy. What we have found is that austerity - severe, immediate, indiscriminate cuts to social and health spending - is not only self-defeating, but fatal ».

- How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled
Paul Krugman, NY Review of Books, June 6, 2013

extraits :
« Why did austerity economics get such a powerful grip on elite opinion in the first place ? »

« The financial crisis of 2008 was a surprise, and happened very fast; but we’ve been stuck in a regime of slow growth and desperately high unemployment for years now. And during all that time policymakers have been ignoring the lessons of theory and history ».

« Inflation and low interest rates are bad for creditors even if they promote job creation; slashing government deficits in the face of mass unemployment may deepen a depression, but it increases the certainty of bondholders that they’ll be repaid in full. I don’t think someone like Trichet was consciously, cynically serving class interests at the expense of overall welfare; but it certainly didn’t hurt that his sense of economic morality dovetailed so perfectly with the priorities of creditors.

It’s also worth noting that while economic policy since the financial crisis looks like a dismal failure by most measures, it hasn’t been so bad for the wealthy. Profits have recovered strongly even as unprecedented long-term unemployment persists; stock indices on both sides of the Atlantic have rebounded to pre-crisis highs even as median income languishes. It might be too much to say that those in the top 1 percent actually benefit from a continuing depression, but they certainly aren’t feeling much pain, and that probably has something to do with policymakers’ willingness to stay the austerity course ».

« … policymakers and elite opinion in general have made use of economic analysis at all, they have, as the saying goes, done so the way a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination. Papers and economists who told the elite what it wanted to hear were celebrated, despite plenty of evidence that they were wrong; critics were ignored, no matter how often they got it right ».

- The Excel Depression, The New York Times, April 18, 2013

« At the beginning of 2010, two Harvard economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, circulated a paper, Growth in a Time of Debt, that purported to identify a critical “threshold,” a tipping point, for government indebtedness. Once debt exceeds 90 percent of gross domestic product, they claimed, economic growth drops off sharply ».

« Finally, Ms. Reinhart and Mr. Rogoff allowed researchers at the University of Massachusetts to look at their original spreadsheet — and the mystery of the irreproducible results was solved. First, they omitted some data; second, they used unusual and highly questionable statistical procedures; and finally, yes, they made an Excel coding error ».

- A Study That Set the Tone for Austerity Is Challenged - blogs New York Times 16.04.2013

Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth ? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff
Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Pollin,  Political Economy Research Institute, Amherst, MA - 15.04.2013

Reinhart Rogoff Responding to our critics - The New York Times - 26.04.2013


Paul Krugman, W Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton
Mark Thoma's blog Economist's View, http://economistsview.typepad.com


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