Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth (2013)
I could start and end my commentary with this simple imperative: BUY THIS BOOK.
Economics was one subject about which I had little interest and a lot of hostility when forced to take it in college. The teacher tried his best, but trying to explain economic theory to a bunch of kids who have possibly never had any knowledge of how much money their parents make, spend, or what things cost is a rather hopeless proposition. At least for me, combined with minimal exposure to life long enough to seen the actual consequences of economic theory in policymaking and being able to see the short-term and long-term impact of such policies, made the content just too much of a word salad to be useful.
Wow! What a book! Gripped me immediately and I could not think of a single way to write clips and just annotate. I thought I was going to have to do a few jpgs to save massive typing. But some of the “blurbs” are included at the GoodReads site in a link in the title above. And I will simply quote a few passages.
Just the Introduction title is compelling: America’s Descent into Madness. Other chapter titles include: The New Authoritarianism, Hurricane Sandy and the Politics of Disposability, The Vanishing point of U.S Democracy, and the concluding chapter gives a nod to George Orwell’s 1984 with the title of Hope in the Time of Permanent War.
Unfortunately, the last chapter begins with a litany of reasons to NOT be hopeful, so after all the dismal commentary of the book, I did not end up feeling particularly hopeful, despite his plea that we should not, must not, give up societal hope.
His words are like reading machine gun fire, each word a bullet to the heart.