Austerity Politics and UK Economic Policy by Craig Berry (auth.)

By Craig Berry (auth.)

Craig Berry assesses united kingdom fiscal coverage within the wake of the monetary quandary during the lens of the austerity schedule, targeting financial coverage, financial rebalancing, commercial and nearby coverage, the labour industry, welfare reform and budgetary administration. He argues that austerity is geared in the direction of a resurrection of financialisation and the UK’s pre-crisis monetary version, during the transformation of person behaviour and demonisation of the country. slicing public spending and debt within the brief time period is, at so much, a secondary problem for the united kingdom coverage elite. even though, the underlying objective of austerity is usually misunderstood as a result of its conflation with a slim deficit relief time table, now not least by way of its Keynesian critics. Berry additionally demonstrates how austerity has successfully dismantled the chance of a centre-left replacement to neoliberalism.

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We can speculate that although the Bank appears somewhat mournful about QE’s boost to the wealthiest groups (Bank of England 2012), the role of QE in sustaining patterns of wealth distribution, facilitated by engagement with UK capital markets, that had been threatened by the financial crisis, is more than simply incidental. The use of QE is of course not unique to the UK—it was used, for instance, in Japan in the 1990s, in the USA from 2008 onwards, and very recently, by the European Central Bank.

It is for this reason that fiscal policy now goes by another name. Its demonisation constrains the government’s ability to mitigate the crisis effectively, but also serves to undermine the legitimacy of any alternative paths to recovery. As much as financialisation was part of the causal context of the crisis, it has also proved to be one of its main beneficiaries. The transformation of individual economic practice that financialisation both embodies and demands has, via austerity discourse, come to be seen as the only way for individuals to ensure their security in a harsh economic climate, even if this ultimately entails taking greater rather than fewer risks with our financial well-being.

The extent to which the public discourse on rebalancing actually propels economic policymaking in practice can of course be questioned (as with the discourse around austerity). Yet the chapter’s principal objection to the possibility that rebalancing contradicts austerity and financialisation INDUSTRIAL DECLINE AND THE MYTH OF REBALANCING 35 by endorsing the notion of a finance-induced decline is that rebalancing discourse actually stops well short of endorsing the view that the UK economy (and the way it is governed), or any of its component sectors, is fundamentally flawed.

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