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Economic Changes and Culture



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Over at the Washington Post, Anne Applebaum has a good piece where she contrasts Latvia and Greece’s approach to austerity response to its implementation: 

Even within Europe, after all, perceptions of economic policy can vary a great deal, as a quick comparison of Latvia and Greece reveals. Recently, the former has received some well-earned attention for its successful pursuit of economic austerity. In the wake of the 2008 crash, the Latvian government slashed public spending, fired a third of its civil servants and reduced salaries of those remaining while refusing to inflate the currency. Gross domestic product declined dramatically, falling 24 percent in two years. And then the recovery began. The Latvian GDP is now growing at more than 5 percent, and the budget deficit has been dramatically reduced.

And the Latvians? As their economy plunged in 2010 and 2011, there were no strikes, no protests, no fury. Not only did the nation accept austerity, it reelected the prime minister who imposed it. In Greece, by contrast, smaller budget cuts (relatively) have led to a smaller GDP decline (18 percent since the crisis began) but also to strikes and riots. The Greeks have voted their politicians out of office more than once, formed a new fascist party and thrown petrol bombs at banks. Meanwhile, their economy has not recovered

The whole thing is way worth reading. 



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