LIttle known fact: America tried austerity in the 1780s, during the so-called “Critical Period.” It didn’t work, but it stuck around causing havoc/rebellions for a decade or so. I’ve been discovering that the era’s writers are still relevant today. Here, for instance, is Massachusetts farmer William Manning’s explanation for why bankers, speculators, creditor/predator governments and the like will push for austerity even in the face of its manifest madness, deflation, scarcity, etcetera:
”The reasons for it are obviously these; viz., as the interests and property of the Few consist chiefly of rents, money at interest, salaries, and fees - [Ed.Remind you of anyone? Hint: Banks and Student Loan Sharkery] which are established on money and which come out of the Many - they are interested in having money scarce and the prices of things as low as possible. For instance, if they could reduce the prices by one half, it would in its operation be just the same to them as though their salaries were doubled. [Ed. Walmart!]
“And these are not all the advantages the Few receive from the scarcity of money (especially the lawyers and the judicial and executive powers of government), for it brings the Many into wants and necessities and obliges them to come to them for justice, mercy, and forbearance - so that it not only doubles the value of their fees but adds double and treble to their employments.
“So that although it is not only implied but fully expressed in almost all the constitutions on the contient that all men are born free and equal and have an equal right to defend their lives, liberties, and properties; and that government was instituted for the common good, not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; and that the desires and interests of the majority of the great body of the people ought to control in all matters of government; and also that a part of those Few are under oath to support these constitutions; yet it being so contrary to their private interests, it cannot be expected that the Few will be forward for this plan. But on the contrary from these Few, together with those who have gotten their public securities for a trifle, there will be a formidable body of powerful men who will combine in opposition thereto and will make every shift, turn, and proposal to hinder it from taking place.”
~William Manning, from “The Key of Liberty, Wilentz and Merrill eds. 1993