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Holes in the Keynesian Arguments against Neoliberal Austerity Policy--Not "Bad" Policy, But Class Policy

By       Message Ismael Hossein-zadeh       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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Instead of calling the recent G-20's brutal austerity declaration (issued at the conclusion of its annual summit in Toronto last month) an orchestrated declaration of class war on the people, many progressive/Keynesian economists and other liberal commentators simply call it "bad policy." While it is true that, as these commentators point out, the Hooverian message of the declaration is bound to worsen the recession, it is nonetheless not a matter of "bad" policy; it is a matter of class policy.

"Bad" policy for whom?

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For the powerful international financial gamblers the declaration is a good, not bad, policy. Indeed, it represents a monumental victory for these gamblers--an economic coup--as it converts tens of trillions of their gambling losses into gains by virtue of having their bought-and-paid-for governments force the people to cut on their bread and butter in order to pay for the fraudulent credit claims of the financial moguls. What is bad for the people is, therefore, a boon for the captains of high finance, who are the main architects of the G-20's austerity policies.

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Viewing the savage class war of the ruling kleptocracy on the people's living and working conditions simply as "bad" policy, and hoping to somehow--presumably through smart arguments and sage advice--replace it with the "good" Keynesian policy of deficit spending without a fight, without grassroots' involvement and/or pressure, stems from the rather naïve supposition that policy making is a simple matter of technical expertise or the benevolence of policy makers, that is, a matter of choice. The presumed choice is said to be between only two alternatives: between the stimulus or Keynesian deficit spending, on the one hand, and the Neoliberal austerity of cutting social spending, on the other.

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Experience shows, however, that economic policy-making is not independent of politics and policy-makers who are, in turn, not independent of the financial interests they are supposed to discipline or regulate. Economic policies are often subtle products of the balance of social forces, or outcome of the class struggle.

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Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism His Web page is http://www.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh

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