Why Austerity Persists
Why Austerity Persists

Several nations in the Global North have turned to austerity policies in an effort to resolve recent financial ills. What many failed to recognize is the longer history and varied pattern of such policies in the Global South over preceding decades – policies which had largely proven to fail. 

Shefner and Blad trace the 45-year history of austerity and how it became the go-to policy to resolve a host of economic problems. The authors use a variety of international cases to address how austerity has been implemented, who has been hurt, and who has benefited. They argue that the policy has been used to address very different kinds of crises, making states and polities responsible for a variety of errors and misdeeds of private actors. The book answers a number of important questions: why austerity persists as a policy aimed at resolving national crises despite evidence that it often does not work; how the policy has evolved over recent decades; and which powerful people and institutions have helped impose it across the globe.

This timely book will appeal to students, researchers, and policymakers interested in globalization, development, political economy, and economic sociology.

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  • December 2019
  • 208 pages
  • 155 x 227 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509509867
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509509874
  • Open eBook $20.00
  • 9781509509904
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Many Paths to Austerity
Chapter 2. From Development to the Lost Decade in Latin America
Chapter 3. African Austerity
Chapter 4. Austerity in Asia and Oceania
Chapter 5. The United States and the Inevitability of Austerity
Chapter 6. Austerity Lands in the European Union
Chapter 7. Why Austerity Persists
About the Author
Jon Shefner is Professor and Head of Sociology at the University of Tennessee
Cory Blad is Professor of Sociology at Manhattan College
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“The aggressive form of capitalism we call neoliberalism has spread across the globe, shoring up profits as earnings are whittled away and government supports are rolled back. This illuminating book helps to explain how this new kind of capitalism has unfolded in societies that are otherwise utterly different. You will want to read it to understand our current troubles.”
Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York 

“This volume takes us on a highly instructive whirlwind tour of austerity on five continents. The result is an indispensable account of what is wrong with the ideas, the rules, and the institutions that govern today’s global economy.”
Fred Block, University of California, Davis 

“Shefner and Blad render us the service of clarifying the roots and the consequences of austerity. Their analysis is worth reading and engaging with.”
Alejandro Portes, Princeton University

“Shefner and Blad maintain that, while austerity has persisted, it is not inevitable. There are genuine progressive alternatives that anti-austerity social movements could fight for to push their countries toward greater national sovereignty for formulating economic policies.”
Dollars and Sense

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