Afternoon Must-Read: Dan Drezner: Austerity Is Still Popular Despite an Abject Record of Failure

Dan Drezner: Austerity Is Still Popular Despite an Abject Record of Failure: “Authoritarians and aspiring authoritarians do not think of economic liberalism as an existential threat in the same way that they view political liberalism…

…There are models out here–think Singapore–of polities that are economically open while still preserving less-than-democratic political structures. Furthermore… in the short run, a rapidly growing economy makes life easier for authoritarian rulers…. The far greater challenge comes from Greece and Spain than Russia…. Greece and Spain… have had to endure a half-decade that is worse than they endured at the start of the Great Depression. One of the things that genuinely surprised me in research *The System Worked* was how robust public polling support was for free markets and free trade across the world. Over time, the one exception to that rule was the Southern European economies. And the most fascinating thing about the post-2008 period was the rise of austerity economics and its continued political popularity despite an abject record of failure. The power of austerity is a testament to the fact that power and interest alone cannot explain the global political economy. Ideas–even bad ones–matter as well…

March 30, 2015

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