- ► 2012 (129)
- ► 2011 (365)
- Europe According to Americans
- Austerity Politics. Kind Of.
- War Is Over (If You Pay Up)
- A Key Point About Basel III
- Midweek Link Dump
- Are (Banking) Crises Becoming More Frequent?
- Number 11. Or 25. Or Something.
- Examining Islam
- FYI, Again
- Let's Stop Shooting Ourselves in the Foot
- Not All Trade Protections Are Created Equal
- The End of the Barrington Moore Problematic
- Is the German Political Economy Shifting?
- Shameless Self-Promotion
- Proud to Be Part of the UNC Mafia
- IPE and The Security Dilemma
- Gimme Some Truth
- Savvy By the Fed
- Genius from The Onion
- Iraq Sanctions Bleg
- One Truth, One Half-Truth, and One Non-Truth
- On L'Affaire Peretz and Nativism
- The Blame Game
- A New Development Model?
- A Thousand Words
- Today's Lesson in Cognitive Dissonance
- Theory of Interstellar Trade
- Hell Freezes Over
- US-Saudi Arms Deal
- Arms Sales and Why Economic Decisions are Politica...
- Domestic Political Cover, Policy Change and Greek ...
- A Brief Dip Into Sentimentality
- Only Partially Hopeless
- More on Basel III Politics
- A neocon and a revolutionary walk into a bar...
- AER Citations
- Basel Is About Politics, Not Technocracy
- Is There Anybody Out There?
- Why Don't Journalists Care About IR Scholarship? B...
- For Richer or Poorer
- Sunday Afternoon Reading
- All I Ask Is That Journalists Do Journalism
- Politics of Hard Times - Macroeconomic Imbalances ...
- The Tragedy of the Commons, Flipped
- Performance Pay and Wage Inequality
- Can Hamas Sabotage the Peace?
- Flogging a Dead Horse
- A Millenial's Perspective On International Politic...
- Ireland's Doldrums
- ▼ September (53)
- ► 2009 (521)
- ► 2008 (134)
- ► 2007 (142)
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Posted by Kindred Winecoff at 3:45 AM . Thursday, September 30, 2010
Mark Blyth gets animated in the literal sense, which as far as I know is a first in the history of IPE. Beyond the novelty, I recommend watching this short video on austerity. I agree with about half off it: the part where he emphasizes the distributional implications of austerity. Unfortunately, he merely toys with idea before regressing into demagoguery. Surely he doesn't believe that living standards have not improved for the bottom 40% of Americans in the past 40 years. And he completely misses the international dimension of austerity politics. The domestic dimension too, really.
I part ways when he passes off value judgments as objective observations. That's not to say that his value judgments aren't reasonable or maybe even valid; just that his conclusions don't follow from his premises. He seems to argue that austerity, if and where and when it happens, should be borne entirely by bankers. That's an understandable position. But it ignores the obvious complication: if bankers are made to suffer, then so are those who seek credit from them. This is especially true of the less-credit-worthy among us. If we want to punish the banks by limiting their risk-taking, then that means we are restricting the ability of the lower classes to access credit. We can have a world in which financial entities are heavily restricted in their activities, but the distributional effects of such a policy are not likely to be favored by the class warriors.
I will say that Blyth is correct in saying that austerity everywhere all the time is not the right reflex. Some states truly do need to consolidate. Others have more room. But by taking a reflexive position, Blyth is missing the really interesting (and important) dynamics. It's a short video that's apparently based on an upcoming book, so maybe he'll deal with these issues in a more nuanced way in print. I hope so.