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Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  12 reviews
One of our foremost economic thinkers challenges a cherished tenet of today’s financial orthodoxy: that spending less, refusing to forgive debt, and shrinking government—“austerity”—is the solution to a persisting economic crisis like ours or Europe’s, now in its fifth year.

Since the collapse of September 2008, the conversation about economic recovery has centered on the
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.97  · 
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 ·  64 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very readable and interesting. I was especially interested in the criticism of the IMF/World Bank response to the Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990s. Kuttner praises Joe Stiglitz but fails to note that Stiglitz was the World Bank Chief Economist at the time. (I was a minor player on the World Bank team working on the Korean branch of the crisis and Stiglitz was with us on a few of our visits to Seoul.) However, Kuttner seems to be suggesting a highly regulated international financial system and ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Since well before the 2008 financial crisis, the practice of economic austerity has beleaguered American and European politics. Praised by the right as a panacea of renewed financial responsibility, and decried by the left as a mechanism for dismantling the West’s already struggling middle classes, austerity signifies a critical juncture where battered economies face radically different strategies for picking up the pieces. Robert Kuttner’s Debtors’ Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possi ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
This excellent book is an exploration of the current economic idea that national debt reduction and austerity will help us find our way out of our ongoing economic malaise. The book is meaty, looking at historic examples of austerity as a means of approaching economic downturns, and comparing those times with times of great prosperity, particularly, for the USA, during the several decades following World War II. Although he uses examples from the history of many countries, including Asian and So ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Malaysia, another small nation that had suffered the effects of currency speculation, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad rejected the advice of IMF and resorted to direct capital controls. This was ridiculed by Western experts as a mark of economic illiteracy, yet the strategy worked beautifully. The central bank used controls mainly to kill the offshore speculative market in Malaysia's currency, the ringgit. Outside Malaysia holders of the ringgit had to wait a year before converting the curren
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bibliocase
A much needed work to demonstrate the dangerous consequences of some ill-conceived economic policies that are being formulated, nay foisted upon the helpless and the affected across the world under the ruse of 'austerity'. An unfortunate example is that of Greece. A nation that has been buffeted into virtual submission by both internal economic inefficiencies (to a good extent) and by insidious external policy diktats (to a significant extent) by the European nations headed by Germany.

What Robe
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Got the book through First Reads. Robert Kuttner's "Debtors' Prison" was a great eye-opener about austerity and why it doesn't work. Thousands are taking to the streets now in Europe, Brazil, and Egypt to show that the people will not be suppressed. People have the power to take action, and Kuttner makes a great contribution, telling us that we must oppose austerity. It only works for a very small sliver of the population, and that's why only they are the ones peddling this prescription.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kuttner's explanation of the financial crisis of '08 is something most people understand. His book delves deeper into historic situations and the European Union's debt crisis (particularly in Greece) to show what does and does not work. He ends the book with a list of things we can do to prevent another crash. Of course, Americans are doing none of them.
Andrew Lord
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Great beginning and ending, and one that properly illustrates the downsides and limitations of austerity and the follies of the "cut ______ government program to the bone" kick that so many politicians are promoting. Gets only a 3-star rating, though, because the author could've gotten his points across - just as effectively - in about half the time.
Kathy Hughes
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book which offers concrete, workable solutions to our current economic problems. Unfortunately, with the exception of Senators Sherrod Brown, Elizabrth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, not many in Washington are listening.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Definitely an interesting perspective, but I'm still wrapping my head around some of the points where I maintain a contrary viewpoint.
Scott Bilodeau
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Oct 06, 2013
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May 25, 2013
Alan Fogelquist
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Oct 02, 2015
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Jul 08, 2013
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Sep 26, 2018
Stuart Elliott
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May 25, 2013
cyrise Brown
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Feb 22, 2015
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Jun 30, 2013
Chris Campano
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Aug 09, 2018
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Jul 14, 2013
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Jul 20, 2015
Simon Wood
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Feb 17, 2014
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Alan Fisher
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Dec 31, 2014
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Ian Vance
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Jul 17, 2013
Lee Humphries
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books i've read on austerity and economics in a while
Lisa Connor
rated it it was ok
Sep 04, 2015
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