Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

11 responses to “Brown Professor Mark Blythe Explains Austerity”

  1. PinkHatLib

    A couple of real good recent Krugman pieces about this…

    Looking for Mister Goodpain

    Incestuous Amplification, Economics Edition

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  2. leftyrite

    Nice project!

    Do more?? !!

    Thought that the graphics worked (funny; cute in a clever sense)

    The music?  Not so much?

    (Too much synthesizer stuff in the pubs??)

    Thanks. I think you’re gettting good. 

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  3. Cicero

    Blythe is right that austerity is designed to hit the weakest first and foremost. But in investing the state with Keynesian responsibility in the first place– he offers no sustainable solution. He does not even identify the Federal Reserve as the chief instigator of the boom and crash. It is not merely the rich v. poor, but a structural access to the official money spigot and political bailouts that drive the privilege. That the Fed is a Progressive creation, designed to privilege the rich while “expertly” managing all things banking and monetary, should signify that any real attempt at justice begins with the destruction of central banking and Keynesian management. Let the banks bail themselves out.

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  4. jgardner

    It’s a wonderfully produced video, but the professor does get a couple things wrong.

    The professor is concerned that instead of spending, people are paying off their debt and the gov’t is then forced to make up the difference. It accepts the flawed Keynesian premise that consumer spending drives the economy. If consumer spending did drive the economy, then we should be in some kind of amazing boom right now because consumer spending eclipsed the previous 2008 high over 2 years ago (

    The other point I take issue with is that if the gov’t slashed spending that it would send the economy off a cliff. I think the professor forgets where the gov’t gets its money from — taxpayers. Any time the gov’t reduces expenditures there is one less crony capitalist who has to go out and get a real job, but that deficit reduction reduces the current or future tax burden of the citizenry. I understand there is no benefit there for the bottom 50% that pays no income taxes, which probably flusters the good professor’s sensibilities, but 50% that do pay income taxes would be grateful.

    He does make a good point at the end though, the people who were responsible for the financial crisis won’t ever face the music. Unfortunately the professor incorrectly blames bankers when in reality it was politicians and the Federal Reserve that were the architects.

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  5. leftyrite

    The Depression of the 1930’s was of the deflationary variety, just like this one.  Keynes proposed that consumption could be increased if people had money to buy goods.

    To that end, he also proposed that the government stimulate job growth by providing work for those who did not have it. The rest is history, and it worked, in this country, for the better part of four generations. 

    From well before the 2008 crash, the government and its regulatory structure were suborned by the financial sector, which is like some kind of aneurysm. Only now it is programmable.

    Obama had the manifest responsibility to learn about the last disaster and to do something about it. But, instead of Keynes, he has turned to Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics: the same people who ruined and raped Chile. They, unlike the Keynesian model, have no notable successes to show, only opportunism in a scavenger scenario. As Naomi Klein, the brilliant public intellectual (and Rahm Emmanuel, the weasel) noted, market players love a good disaster.

    What the banksers reply upon is not message, but surveillance and police control. They’ve seen that they can even launder cocaine money through big international banks, which, even then, will only be fined for their wrongdoing. Jail time? Unheard of for them at this moment in history.

    All indications are that there will be a huge war in the Middle East, either preceded or followed by an even larger Depression than we are experiencing now in the West. And, this time, we have an absolutely terrible narrative to work with.

    Hope and change, if it is to come at all, won’t come from technocrats. It will come from a culture of people who have learned to keep body and soul together through sad, grievous, and corrupt times.

    At home, Gina Raimondo, the “venture” capitalist (no conflict there) and EN(RON MIGHT WELL)GAGE RHODE ISLAND are the exponents of vulture capitalism.

    As long as pandering to the the wealthy, denying the truth coming out of the last Depression, and propaganda rule, they rule.

    They may win in the short term, but it’s not too early or too late, to develop an analysis that rightly despises them. They “win us with honest truths, to betray us in deepest consequence.” 

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    1. jgardner

      “he has turned to Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics”
      How so? 

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  6. leftyrite

    Privatization is the single biggest issue. 

    Look at what has happened to the public sector.

    But, you could also just as easily look at the fifty thousand-plus contractors in Iraq, ostensibly representing all of us as Americans and not just their own narrow corporate interests.

    Today,in Chile, you will find some of the very brightest and most promising students crusading for the return of public schools.

    They’ve seen entrenched aristocracy and the rigid stratification of their society, and they don’t like it.

    We’ve seen thirty years of Reagan and Friedman, and we’re worse off than ever.

    Isn’t thirty years enough time to show what you’ve got? 

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    1. jgardner

      “Isn’t thirty years enough time to show what you’ve got?”
      But you said Obama turned to the Chicago school of economics, which implies that whatever we were doing prior to Obama was not the Chicago school. Semantics aside, I would tend to agree with you that 30 years should be a substantive time period to make a determination, but only if we actually followed the approach. Economists from the Chicago school are generally unsupportive of massive government intervention, and yet over the last 30 years that’s just what our duly elected officials did in the banking and housing sectors. So how can you blame an entire school of economic thought for something its members don’t even subscribe to?

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  7. nev

    It’s facetious to say that we should be in a fantastic economic boom because consumer spending is up. That argument is quite equal in all respects to this one, with the opposite conclusion:
    If private investment really drove our economy, then shouldn’t we be in the midst of the most spectacular depression ever, seeing as private investment is lower than ever?
    Now if you can use the same logic to come to two incompatible conclusions, the only thing we can really conclude is that the logic is flawed.

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  8. leftyrite

    And I think that the person who uttered “fantastic economic boom” should be asked to account for that.

    How about rent?  How about food on the table?

    Real wages haven’t gone up for the average worker in thirty years.

    I’m sure that it’s the same or worse in Chile. And Greece. And Ireland. And Portugal. And Spain.
    And Italy.

    Paradoxically enough, all of these places, or what passes for the leadership of same, have all practiced major tenets of the bankster mantra. Greed, supposedly, is good.

    And it leads to the same results. 

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  9. DogDiesel

    “It’s facetious to say that we should be in a fantastic economic boom because consumer spending is up.”
    “And I think that the person who uttered “fantastic economic boom” should be asked to account for that.”
    Did someone actually say we were in an economic boom or are you both taking those words out of context?

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