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.