Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Austerity as a Global Prescription and Lessons from the Neoliberal Baltic Experiment

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

4:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Jeffrey Sommers is associate professor of political economy and public policy in global studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is also visiting faculty, Stockholm School of Economics, Riga in Latvia.

Charles Woolfson is professor of labor studies at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity, and Society (REMESO), Linköping University, Sweden. He was a resident Marie Curie Chair at the former EuroFaculty, University of Latvia.

Moderator: Mark Blyth, Watson Institute Faculty Fellow and Professor of International Political Economy, Brown University.

Sommers and Woolfson's paper, Austerity as a global prescription and lessons from the neoliberal Baltic experiment, can be downloaded here.

The paper draws on the experience of the imposition of radical austerity measures in the Baltic states. It challenges the myth that austerity can be achieved in a socially and economically ‘costless’ manner. Baltic-style austerity has now become a template of ‘successful adjustment’ and a recipe for recovery for the Eurozone. The authors argue contra such myth-making that austerity is compromising the longer-run sustainability of societies that follow this path, while simultaneously compromising prospects of the adhesion of a European ‘Social Model’ in Europe’s post-communist periphery.

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