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Analysis and Comment (38)

Iain Duncan Smith: hardship, despair, and destitution. Iain Duncan Smith: hardship, despair, and destitution. Anthony Devlin/PA

Human rights case against welfare reforms keeps growing

On July 5, the Daily Mail mounted yet another attack on the pesky human rights folk who have the temerity to question the coalition government’s welfare agenda. The article, headlined “The Brazil Nut strikes…
Austerity programs were put in place after European governments bailed out their banks. But are they fair on the everyday citizen? Austerity programs were put in place after European governments bailed out their banks. But are they fair on the everyday citizen? Ben Andreas Harding

Do we have austerity obligations?

Governments are reining in spending on welfare, education and health care right across the western world. With the Commission of Audit recommending austerity measures that seemingly point to a tough federal…
Food banks are great, but a living wage is better. Food banks are great, but a living wage is better. David Jones/PA

A living wage – not food aid – is answer to issue of food poverty

Charitable food provision is growing, and more and more people are being fed by food banks and other initiatives. The press and TV have debated the legitimacy of such provision and highlighted the number…
Spanish workers showing the Brits how it’s done. Spanish workers showing the Brits how it’s done. Gallowolf

Whatever happened to the British general strike?

Once considered the key issue in industrial relations, strikes appeared to be in a permanent state of decline in western Europe in the two decades before 2008. But the financial crisis and the austerity…
More austerity will mean more unhappy referendum voters in months to come. More austerity will mean more unhappy referendum voters in months to come. NUS Scotland

Osborne has squandered his last chance to sway referendum voters in Scotland

Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his last budget before the September referendum in Scotland. He did so with one eye on the UK election in May 2015. But the other was firmly focused on the Scottish…
Gideon is Hebrew for “destroyer”. Gideon is Hebrew for “destroyer”. Dominic Lipinski/PA

Osborne hacks away at working poor without explaining details

George Osborne’s announcement this week that a Conservative government would implement £25 billion of cuts over two years after the next election is a bold statement of intent both economically and politically…
Weighing up cost and benefit: proposed legal aid cuts are a perversion of justice. Weighing up cost and benefit: proposed legal aid cuts are a perversion of justice. Lonpicman

Cuts to criminal legal aid will turn defendants into products

In an adversarial criminal justice system like the one we have in England and Wales, access to justice depends on access to lawyers. The court system is complicated and confusing, a heady mix of archaic…
Firefighters are protesting new pension plans, but the status quo is unaffordable. Firefighters are protesting new pension plans, but the status quo is unaffordable. Yui Mok/PA

Deadlock over pensions forces firefighters out on strike again

Firefighters have once again voted to go on strike in England and Wales, their fifth strike since September. This might seem like a high number of walkouts, but the Fire Brigades Union (FBU)’s reputation…
We’ve struck growth! We’ve struck growth! Joe Giddens/PA

Osborne’s growth strategy masks worrying undercurrents

The Autumn Statement is a curious ritual. With the chancellor already delivering an annual budget based around a medium-term strategy, the autumn statement does not provide an opportunity for any major…
Could a new method of measuring structural deficits mean easing austerity pressures on troubled Eurozone economies? Could a new method of measuring structural deficits mean easing austerity pressures on troubled Eurozone economies? Chema Sanz via Flickr

Potentially less austerity for the troubled Eurozone

The EU Commission’s autumn economic forecasts are due tomorrow. What makes this event special this year is that there are rumours about a possible change in the Commission’s approach to calculating the…
China has far more to lose from too few US dollars than it does from a dollar surplus. China has far more to lose from too few US dollars than it does from a dollar surplus. Urbanartcore.eu/Flickr

US economic policy: the right settings, disastrous process

The US debt crisis is over for now, but legislators have just kicked the can down the road. In this series on the US debt ceiling, academics from Australia, the UK and the US assess the lingering global…
Greek protestors take to streets after the ERT shutdown. Greek protestors take to streets after the ERT shutdown. Yanis Varoufakis

The view from the studio, as Greece’s state TV was shut

For those of us who grew up in the Greece of the neo-fascist colonels, nothing can stir up painful memories like a modern act of totalitarianism. When the television screen froze last night, an hour before…
An influential economics paper — which has now been shown to have several methodological flaws — was used by policymakers to justify austerity drives around the world. An influential economics paper — which has now been shown to have several methodological flaws — was used by policymakers to justify austerity drives around the world. AAP

Economists, an Excel error, and the misguided push for austerity

The economic literature is full of excellent articles that are not read outside small academic circles. There are, however, important exceptions. “Growth in a Time of Debt”, by Carmen R. Reinhart and Kenneth…
Regardless of who wins the 2013 election, citizens and commentators alike are pessimistic about Italy’s economic outlook. Regardless of who wins the 2013 election, citizens and commentators alike are pessimistic about Italy’s economic outlook. AAP

Italy at the crossroads: desperately seeking government in a time of crisis

Italy has had several crucial elections in the past. In 1946, right after the end of World War II, citizens were called to decide between Republic and Monarchy. Two years later, the 1948 general election…
In a recently released report, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard admitted that implementing austerity in Europe was a mistake. In a recently released report, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard admitted that implementing austerity in Europe was a mistake. AAP

We were wrong: IMF report details the damage of austerity

In a rare volte-face, the International Monetary Fund this week admitted that it grossly underestimated the impact of the austerity regime it advised Europeans to adopt. A paper authored by IMF chief economist…
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has extended controversial austerity measures amid a bleak outlook for the British economy. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has extended controversial austerity measures amid a bleak outlook for the British economy. AAP

Is Britain heading for a triple-dip recession?

Middle-income tax increases, corporate tax cuts and below-inflation increases in maternity leave and housing allowances form the centrepiece of British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s Autumn…
Are cuts the best way to achieve efficient Government? Are cuts the best way to achieve efficient Government? Joe Castro / AAP

Slash, burn and churn: public service cuts miss the mark

I was sitting in a session at the Institute of Public Administration Congress recently where Greg Hywood, the CEO of Fairfax, boldly announced that the public sector simply did not understand cuts. Not…
Policies of austerity are a fundamental burden on low-income earning women in the UK. Policies of austerity are a fundamental burden on low-income earning women in the UK. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Women are paying the price for economic austerity

Since 2010, many European governments have adopted austerity policies in an attempt to reduce the budget deficits and increases in government borrowing that were caused by the 2007/8 financial crisis…
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls has delivered a budget that commits to austerity, with a return to surplus within three years. Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls has delivered a budget that commits to austerity, with a return to surplus within three years.

Queensland budget commits to austerity

The 2012-13 Queensland budget was the most anticipated policy announcement in several decades. The cut-backs in public sector employment previously forecast and cost saving measures announced in the early…
Like Barack Obama, Richard Nixon was once a first-term president in charge of a spluttering economy. Like Barack Obama, Richard Nixon was once a first-term president in charge of a spluttering economy. Marion Doss

Lessons of economic history: Nixon, Obama and the politics of austerity

Yesterday the Federal Reserve announced limited measures to boost the economy. Whatever effect they will have on the economy, they are unlikely to be of any benefit to Obama. Indeed, history shows that…
In the aftermath of the Greek elections, there have been renewed calls to accompany austerity measures with pro-growth policies. In the aftermath of the Greek elections, there have been renewed calls to accompany austerity measures with pro-growth policies.

Austerity and growth: trying to make sense of a contradiction

Having read that the outcome of the Greek elections points to a continuation of the push for fiscal austerity in that country, my heart sunk. Then I see that our own Prime Minister has been quoted as telling…
Alexis Tsipras will lead Syriza to the polls on June 17. Alexis Tsipras will lead Syriza to the polls on June 17. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greek elections: the heart of contradiction

To free the age from its captivity, To create a brand new world, The discordant, tangled days Must be linked, as with a flute. –Osip Mandelstam, The Age (1923) There is an air of impending disaster in…
Austerity’s political cheer squad: but is the game over? G8 countries have committed to growth by setting sights on employment. Austerity’s political cheer squad: but is the game over? G8 countries have committed to growth by setting sights on employment.

Why do our world leaders cling to the dismal politics of economic austerity?

The lingering commitment to austerity of leading Western politicians in the face of impending economic tragedy is beyond belief. The dismal science is a sobriquet often wrongly applied to economics, but…
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would like to seek Greece withdraw from the Eurozone. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would like to seek Greece withdraw from the Eurozone. EPA/Simela Pantzartzi

Is the end of austerity the end for Europe?

Ten days ago, the political landscape in Europe changed profoundly. Greece voted in the main to elect parties from the far right and far left who are opposed to austerity, and France elected a socialist…
Greek citizens took their frustration out on the ballot box this weekend. Greek citizens took their frustration out on the ballot box this weekend. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Elections in Europe an assault on the austerity doctrine

The answer, even though they see over and over again that austerity leads to collapse of the economy, the answer over and over [from politicians] is more austerity. – Joseph Stiglitz, Asian Financial Forum…
Socialist candidate Francois Hollande’s win in the first round of the French election signals more than “crazy” ideas; but a refashioning of political purpose that extends beyond French borders. Socialist candidate Francois Hollande’s win in the first round of the French election signals more than “crazy” ideas; but a refashioning of political purpose that extends beyond French borders. AAP

Rather than politics of conceit, French elections signal waning faith in market forces

The seismic forces propelling the socialist contender to the Elysee Palace have been caustically dismissed by Bret Stephens, a prominent columnist for the Wall Street Journal, as the result of the conceited…

Research and News (1)