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Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus Faculty House, Presidential Room 1 (3rd Floor)

Introduction: Emmanuelle Saada, Associate Professor, Department of French and Romance Philology and Department of Sociology

Keynote speaker: Mark Blyth, Professor of International Political Economy, Brown University

Discussant: Victoria de Grazia, Moore Collegiate Professor of History and Director, Blinken European Institute

The subject of austerity is central to debates about the economy in Europe and the U.S. Professor Mark Blyth argues that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we recognize austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.

Professor Blyth is the author of the book, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford University Press, April 2013). Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the talk.

Categories: Academic: Lecture