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Analysis and Comment (53)

Empowering patients might have more to do with bean-counting than you realise. sfam_photo

Handing more control to patients could just be cost-cutting in disguise

In Austerity Britain, few cutbacks capture the public ire like those directed towards the beloved NHS. In the public consciousness at least, it seems the NHS must remain outside the whims of party politics…
Despite a fall in our rate of child poverty, there is reason to be concerned about recent changes and future trends in Australia. AAP/Joe Castro

Australia bucks child poverty trend but the future looks a lot bleaker

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has just released its latest report card on child well-being in 41 rich countries. In particular, the report looks at the effects of the economic crisis on children…
Pulling the plug on services will be costly. AMA via Shutterstock

Austerity cuts to local leisure services is a false economy

Public sector workers have been taking to the streets protesting the below-inflation pay rises and austerity. The Trades Union Congress hoped this would send a clear message to the British government…
Whichever way you look at it, tax cuts cause losses for all. PA Wire

How Cameron’s tax giveaway will end up costing you more

One of the Conservative Party’s major promises to emerge in its party conference was the promise of tax cuts to reduce the burden of government on hardworking families who do the right thing. Many critics…
Australia is a long way from consensus on G20 economic growth. Jason Reed/AAP

Australia may be hosting the G20, but it’s no G20 leader

When the central bank governors and finance ministers from the G20 agreed in February to increase growth by at least two percentage points over the next five years, they fell short of delivering a common…
Counting your blessings. A worker at a chocolate factory in Germany. Jan Woitas/EPA

German labour markets put Europe’s workforce in the firing line

Germany’s strategy for export-led growth has set the Eurozone up for a fall. Plans to introduce minimum wages in 2015 might be too little too late for European countries locked in a futile game of beggar-thy-workforce…
Generation austerity no longer believes the future will be better than the present. lilgamerboy14

Austerity has hampered our ability to imagine a better future

In the UK and other parts of the Western world, the notion that we are progressing towards a better future has been a consistent, if not entirely uninterrupted, ideal. But in recent years, this idea seems…
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? 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…
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…
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. 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…
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. 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. 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. 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…
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. 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? 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. 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 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…
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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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…

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