imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Why Austerity Kills

by Joachim Kasten Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 at 6:47 AM
marc1seed@yahoo.com

The poorest and weakest persons must pay the price for misguided political decisions. Political-economic decisions decide over the life and death of persons. The New Deal stands for an effective debt reduction. Germany has been an active driver of austerity.

WHY AUSTERITY KILLS



By Joachim Kasten



[This book review published on November 6, 2014 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.gegenblende.de.]



Eight-year old American Olivia was rescued from the flames of her house. She survived with serious mental and physical injuries. Her father, an unemployed construction worker, set his own house on fire out of despair in an alcoholic frenzy. He landed in jail. His was one of many family tragedies in 2009 – in the fire storm of the financial crisis.



Three years later in April 2012, the retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas committed suicide. He shot himself before the Greek parliament building in Athens. His pension was dramatically cut. Dimitris’ health was gravely impaired and he could not pay for his medicine. He was a casualty of the economic conditions.



Olivia and Dimitris are selected fates with which the American authors David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu introduce their book “Why Austerity Kills.” Its central thesis is that political-economic decisions decide over the life and death of people. These are the misguided decisions of politicians and managers sacrificing people in the US, Russia, Thailand and Greece.



NEW DEAL IN FOCUS



In the introductory chapter, David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu recall the history of capitalist crises produced better solutions. For Americans, the New Deal after the worldwide economic crisis of the 1930s was characteristic. On “Black Thursday” in October 1929, a gigantic speculative bubble burst in the stock market crash. In the United States, the dramatic downswing led to thirteen million unemployed and a society where three of five citizens were poor according to the data of Stuckler and Basu.



“Tax the rich and feed the poor” was a typical slogan during the many hunger demonstrations of that time. Fifteen casualties and fifty wounded were a brutal culminating point, according to the authors, when the security forces of the Ford auto company opened fire on protesting workers. Parallel to the battle on the streets, a debate raged between politicians and economists around savings (austerity). In this argumentative conflict, the central question was how the deep economic crisis should be properly countered – more cuts or social programs for millions of people without work and housing. The answer is well-known. The democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won the 1933 presidential election with the promise of using state financial resources to alleviate the social misery and simultaneously stimulate an economic upswing. That his New Deal was also the result of fears that the “Socialist Party” would split votes for the left and thus prepare the ground for the “2nd term” of the republican Herbert Hoover is less well-known.



The authors Stuckler and Basu praised President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” as the greatest project for the public health system in American history. The improvements were tremendous. In most states, the investments led to more and better hospitals and better trained medical personnel. Child mortality and suicides declined. For the authors, the New Deal stands for an effective debt reduction and not only a lower mortality and growing average incomes. In the view of American academics, this historical example shows the worst catastrophe may not be an excuse for a deterioration of social standards.



SHOCK THERAPY FOR RUSSIA



“The Post Communist Mortality Crises” may be the most dramatic chapter of the book. The fatal risks of austerity policy in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union are described as a “natural experiment” on living persons. Gigantic social dislocations occurred in Russia at the beginning of the 1990s with the radical system change from a socialist-bureaucratic plan- to a capitalist market economy. “No other industrialized country was exposed to a comparable catastrophe since the worldwide economic crisis,” Stuckler and Basu write.



According to official sources, 25 percent of the population lived in poverty at that time. Independent sources even put the number above 40 percent. “The worst thing about communism is post-communism” was a frequent aphorism. Russia recorded a huge increase in its death rate with a simultaneous lowering of the average life expectancy. The causes of these developments were an increase of alcohol poisonings, murders, suicides and a higher number of heart attacks among younger men according to the authors.



People were abandoned to their fate, particularly outside the big cities. Hope for a better future died without job perspectives with a radically shriveled health system. For Stuckler and Basu, the politicians that backed a disastrous economic theory were responsible for all these malformations. In the final phase of the Soviet Union when Michael Gorbatchev pushed his Glasnost- and Perestroika reforms, the land experienced a dramatic tug-of-war between so-called gradualists and advocates of a radical reform.



A “shock therapy” supported by Russian president Boris Yeltzin had priority instead of a gradual transition to capitalism. The program promoted by him was implemented in 1994 and contained a rush liberalization and a radical privatization of public enterprises. The Russian Vice-president at that time Alexander Ruzkoi condemned the decision as “economic genocide.”



This transformation process also led to a deeply unequal wealth distribution. Decision-makers of the former communist style expropriated Russia’s tremendous wealth. Even today they rule the land as oligarchs with absolute power. The market-fundamentalist economist and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman was godfather of the shock therapy, according to Stuckler and Basu. The guiding thesis at that time was “short-term pain for long-term gain.” Stuckler and Basu speak of ten million casualties in Russia. According to their calculation, the death rate in Russia is higher today than in 1991. The profiteers of this shock therapy are the one percent oligarchs who appropriated the tremendous wealth of the country.



THE FATAL PRESCRIPTIONS OF THE IMF



Spiegel once wrote the word “austerity policy” in France sounds like an instrument of torture. The cuts proposed by the socialist president Francois Hollande are only a mild social reform compared to what Stuckler and Basu report about crisis countries in Southeast Asia or Greece.



Toward the end of the 1990s, the Asian tiger states fell sick with a grave economic recession. The International Monetary Fund offered financial assistance to help stricken countries like Thailand and South Korea. The IMF financial injections were coupled to massive cuts above all in the public health sector. As only one dramatic consequences of this, the authors report an increase in pneumonias, TBC and HIV with over 50,000 casualties. In Malaysia, the government ignored the conditions of the IMF. Malaysia had a comparatively quicker economic recovery and protected the population of the country from considerable health risks, Stuckler and Basu report.



The IMF seems to have hardly learned any lessons from the Asian debacle. The modern staging of the Greek tragedy is a certain sign of that. The authors reveal impressive evidence how HIV-programs were cancelled through the pressure of the Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In Greece, the austerity policy aggravated the downward social spiral through a rise of unemployment to 40 percent and homelessness to 25 percent in 2009 and 2011.



In all the examples, the poorest and weak persons must always pay the price for misguided political decisions. Part of the responsibility for the economic causes of the crises is homemade, Stuckler and Basu recognize.



The authors blame the German government for being an active driver of the Greek austerity policy. According to their interpretation, the measures “give a lesson” to the rest of Europe as the German chancellor Angela Merkel declared. The idea of rescue was not the only motive. The well-known American economist James Galbraith even spoke of a “collective punishment” with regard to Greece’s treatment.



BETTER MODELS



With nearly heroic tones, the authors praised the Icelandic way of referendum that rejected the bitter medicine of the IMF. This rejection proved right in the ex-post-reflection since their health system was untouched and a gradual economic recovery occurred. Sweden and Finland are also praised. The two Northern countries decided against cuts in their health systems during the recession phases in the 1990s. Instead they invested in an active labor market policy. On the other hand, the conservative premier David Cameron in Great Britain actively defends the austerity course. Stuckler and Basu see this as ideological transfiguration.

- David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu: The Body Economic – Why Austerity Kills; Harper Collins 2013, 215 pages

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy