The countries which have adopted Austerity Programmes have seen their economies eviscerated. It is the act of Austerity itself which creates the human misery associated with these countries now. A quick comparison between Greece (adopted Austerity measures) and Iceland (rejected Austerity measures) demonstrates this point.
Greece accepted an £88bn loan from the IMF and the European Central Bank and the Austerity measures attached in order to bail out its banks and stay in the Euro. The economy of Greece has shrunk every year for five years and the Austerity Programme has turned a financial crisis into a humanitarian crisis. 11% of the population now live in ‘Extreme Material Deprivation’ without enough food, heating, electricity or a telephone Unemployment is now over 27% and continues to rise each month, while youth unemployment is now over 59%. This level of poverty has enabled a resurgent fascism. The Far Right Golden Dawn party now has 18 of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament. Immigrants are being routinely assaulted and killed in racially motivated attacks. Just days ago, a group of 200 immigrant workers protesting six months of unpaid wages were fired upon by their bosses. The assault left twenty eight with gunshot wounds and it was a miracle that no one lost their life.
Iceland refused to use tax payer cash to honour debts run up by the private sector, jailed the bankers responsible, kicked out the Prime Minister and put him on trial for his part in the crisis, and invited its citizens to write a new constitution. Iceland’s economy has enjoyed seven straight quarters of growth averaging 2.5% growth a year Iceland now has a below 5% unemployment rate (UK is at 7.9%), Pensioners receive back around 96.5% of their average net income as pension, Wages have continued to climb since 2011 and are now at an all time high. Iceland society is peaceful and free of social strife. There is an alternative to Austerity, and it has proved far more successful. There is no case in history where cutting Austerity caused growth in a time of economic crisis.