14 December 2017   Leave a comment

A new research paper (“Austerity and the rise of the Nazi party” by Gregori Galofré-Vilà, Christopher M. Meissner, Martin McKee, David Stuckler, NBER Working Paper No. 24106, Issued in December 2017) has raised a very provocative argument: that the austerity policies implemented in the Weimar Republic led to the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s.  Dylan Matthews, writing for Vox, goes through the various arguments that others have made to explain the rise of Nazism, and suggests that the policies implemented by Chancellor Heinrich Brüning from 1930 to 1932 were unique among the European states:

“The scale of the cutback that Brüning enacted from 1930 to 1932 is truly staggering. The authors estimate that Brüning cut German government spending by about 15 percent, after inflation, from 1930 to 1932. He raised income taxes on high earners by an average of 10 percent, and slashed unemployment, pension, and welfare benefits.

“The economic consequences were horrific. GDP fell by 15 percent, as did government revenue. Unemployment increased from 22.7 percent to 43.8 percent. Brüning came to be known as the ‘Hunger Chancellor.’”

The argument deserves careful  scrutiny and attention.  The austerity policies imposed in a variety of countries after the financial crisis of 2007-08 can be correlated with the rise of many right-wing parties and movements in various countries today.  Whether there is a causal relationship is an intriguing proposition.

 

CNN is reporting that two US F-22 fighter planes chased away Russian fighter planes over a “de-confliction” zone (don’t blame me–that’s the word they use) in Syria.  The zones are presumably set by both the US and Russia as a way to avoid misunderstandings in the air.  The zone runs approximately down the Euphrates River with Russian forces operating on the west side and US forces on the east side.   Not surprisingly, Russia denies that they violated the zone and that the American jets were provocative.  Needless to say, an accidental clash between the two sides would be highly dangerous.

 

The American Meteorological Society has published its annual report on “Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective”.  The report tries to differentiate “normal” weather events from atypical weather associated with human induced climate change, a very difficult task.  This year’s report is “the first of these reports to find that some extreme events were not possible in a preindustrial climate. The events were the 2016 record global heat, the heat across Asia, as well as a marine heat wave off the coast of Alaska.”  The report is very detailed and for those with a strong interest in the subject, it is well worth the effort to examine carefully.

Posted December 14, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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