More disheartening than the economic catastrophe in the United States and Europe is that government response is making the crisis worse. The response is austerity, which Mark Blyth, in Austerity, defines as "the policy of cutting the state's budget to promote growth" and which Robert Kuttner, in Debtors' Prison, labels "Agony Economics." Both books—informed, passionate, at times angry—document the failure of austerity, detail the resulting human suffering and untangle the historical and ideological origins of austerity.


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