Critical Social Theory and Cultural Commentary

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Austerity Agenda

'To Choose Austerity is to Bet it all on the Confidence Fairy', Joseph Stiglitz
The most erudite account I've come across of why the neoliberal austerity agenda is so fundamentally flawed. The American Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz writing for the Guardian highlights the historical successes of Keynesian theory vis a vis economic recovery. Time and time again increased public expenditure has provided the escape from recovery, whilst austerity has resulted in increased unemployment, a shortage of demand for goods and services, lower tax revenues and decaying infrastructure. Con/Lib policy in the UK is being driven by the same mistaken ideology of rolling back the state that got us in such a mess in the first place.

Interesting Articles

'The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved', Hunter S. Thompson
Thompson's classic article on Ralph Steadman's website. Entertaining read.

'Confounding Fathers: The Tea Party's Cold War Roots', Sean Wilentz
The New Yorker's Sean Wilentz charts the historical continuity between extremism in the Republican Party and organisations such as the John Birch Society during the '50s and '60s with the likes of Glenn Beck today. Especially interesting is the role played by Beck in pushing to the top of the Amazon bestsellers list a book by Willard Cleon Skousen, a man who was thought too extreme for even the craziest of crazys during the Cold War. Wilentz worryingly concludes that even during the volatile atmosphere of the Cold War there were always members of the Republican Party prepared to stand up against the extremist currents in their party, something which is lacking today.