Greek voters reject austerity

The Syriza party wins a major victory in Greece, forming an alliance with right-wing opponents to austerity (or, more specifically, to following the orders of Germany and the EU). I wish I had time to read much more about what’s happening in Europe, so I’ll just have to save it for summer beachside reading, post-dissertation.

Mr. Tsipras’s victory represented a rejection of the harsh economics of austerity. It also sent a warning to the rest of Europe, where continuing economic weakness has stirred a populist backlash, with more voters growing fed up with policies that have required sacrifices to meet the demands of creditors but that have failed to deliver more jobs and prosperity.

“The Greeks have the right to elect whoever they want; we have the right to no longer finance Greek debt,” Hans-Peter Friedrich, a senior member of Ms. Merkel’s conservative bloc, told the daily newspaper Bild on Monday. “The Greeks must now pay the consequences and cannot saddle German taxpayers with them.”

Read: AfterVictoryatGreekPolls, AlexisTsiprasIsSwornInandFormsCoalitionGovernment-NYTimes.com.

IMF critiqued internally for austerity response

BY ANNA YUKHANANOVWASHINGTON Tue Nov 4, 2014

Reuters – The International Monetary Fund ignored its own research and pushed too early for richer countries to trim budgets after the global financial crisis, the IMFs internal auditor said on Tuesday.

The Washington-based multilateral lender, concerned about high debt levels and large fiscal deficits, urged countries like Germany, the United States and Japan to pursue austerity in 2010-11 before their economies had fully recovered from the crisis.

At the same time, the IMF advocated loose monetary policies to sustain growth and boost demand in advanced economies, initially ignoring the possible spillover risks of such policies for emerging market countries, the Independent Evaluation Office, or IEO, said in a report that analyzed the IMFs crisis response.

“This policy mix was less than fully effective in promoting recovery and exacerbated adverse spillovers,” the IEO wrote.

The IMF advises its 188 member countries on economic policy, and provides emergency financial assistance to its members on the condition they get their economies back on track.

The internal auditor said the IMF should have known that the combination of tight fiscal policy and expansionary monetary policy would be less effective in boosting growth after a crisis. Evidence showed that the private sectors focus on reducing debt made it less susceptible to monetary stimulus.

In 2012, the IMF finally admitted that it had underestimated how much budget cuts could hurt growth and recommended a slower pace for austerity policies. But its auditor said the IMFs own research showed this relationship even before the crisis.

Read: IMF gave richer countries wrong austerity advice after crisis – watchdog | Reuters.

“The Social Geographies of Recession and Austerity”

I just stumbled on this great list of resources from early this year, on a blog by Alison Stenning:

Some really great blogs have emerged over the past few years as people have tried to document their own, and others’, struggles with austerity.  There’s an article about some of these blogs here.

These are some of the most interesting and/or prolific:

http://agirlcalledjack.com – Blog by Jack Monroe who has published particularly about food and food poverty; her Guardian columns (and recipes) are available here:http://www.theguardian.com/profile/jack-monroe

http://katebelgrave.com – “Talking with people dealing with public sector cuts”. Kate Belgrave’s Guardian columns are here: http://www.theguardian.com/profile/kate-belgrave

http://mumvausterity.blogspot.co.uk – Bernadette Horton, “a mum of 4 fighting everyday battles against austerity – and hoping to win!”

Most of these bloggers also tweet; you can find them and follow them for more updates and links to other bloggers.

Many of the major newspapers have developed sub-sections on their websites in which they document the effects of austerity from a number of perspectives.

On Guardian Witness, you can find personal accounts of families living in poverty; you follow the link to Guardian Witness from this pageThe Guardian is also home to Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog.

In 2008, The Telegraph’s went on a ‘Recession Tour‘ of a variety of UK localities.

Much of the material that ends up on the (web)pages of our national newspapers comes from a range of different projects launched by a variety of think tanks, lobby groups, charities and so on. The projects I’m highlighting here are ones which focus on the everyday experiences of recession and austerity in communities.

Real Life Reform is “an important and unique study that tracks over a period of 18 months how people are living and coping with welfare reforms across the North of England”. It has been developed by the Northern Housing Consortium with seven northern housing associations. There are two reports, one from September 2013 and another from December. A third report is due in the spring of 2014. You can follow Real Life Reform on Twitter @RealLifeReform.

The IPPR have developed a Voices of Britain website (http://voicesofbritain.com), as a ”snapshot of the condition of Britain in 2013”.

The Family and Parenting Institute’s work on Families in the Age of Austerity is another exploration of the effects of austerity on families.

The Campaign for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Working Group for the North East produced this report on the impact of austerity measures on women in the North East.

For an Irish perspective, have a look at http://irelandafternama.wordpress.com – a blog written mostly by geographers on Ireland’s experience of financial crisis and austerity.

Head to the blog for the rest of the post, which also has links to academic works on austerity: The Social Geographies of Recession and Austerity | researchingrelationships.

Also check out her own post about the costs of Austerity in Britain: https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/alisonstenning/the-costs-of-austerity/

Looks like she isn’t writing more, but always nice to find someone with kindred interests…