Austerity measures are damaging the economy in Britain, Italy and Spain, warned Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.
On 29 January 2012, in the New York Times, he pointed out that “by one important measure — changes in real GDP since the recession began — Britain is doing worse this time than it did during the Great Depression.”
Despite some caveats, this revealed “a stunning failure of policy”, in particular of “the austerity doctrine that has dominated elite policy discussion” in Europe and to a large extent the USA in the past couple of years. Lessons from history had been brushed aside for ideological reasons, Professor Krugman suggested.
It was recently announced that the UK economy had shrunk by 0.2 per cent in the last three months of 2011. There is growing evidence that the warnings of many experts about too drastic an austerity programme were well founded. This makes the government’s agenda of severe cuts even harder to justify.
(c) Savi Hensman works in the equalities and care sector. She is an Ekklesia associate and a respected commentator on politics, social policy and religion.