Austerity is bad for our health, and many, like Mark Blyth, say that it’s a “dangerous idea.” Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, and faculty fellow at Brown University, shows us exactly how in this innovative and clearly illustrated video.
Blyth challenges the misconception of austerity as a common sense approach to dealing with the economic fall-out of the world-wide recession. His work confirms what we know from research that is closer to home.
World Vision Canada’s report Poverty at Your Doorstep is the most recent in a long string of reports, talks, factsheets, and conversations detailing the effects that austerity are having on those who already go with less or without. It might be difficult to understand why cutbacks and savings in a time of recession or recovering from recession wouldn’t be the way to dig us out of the hole we’re in. When dealing with personal debt struggles, doesn’t it make sense to pay down debt before investing? Wouldn’t the same rules apply? The short and uneasy answer is, no, because our economy is more complex than that, and governments are different than households. Balancing the budget isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Blyth’s video describes aptly why austerity doesn’t work financially, the collection of research and policy reports piling up tells us how it doesn’t work socially, and as far as we’re concerned here at the Wellesley Institute, why it doesn’t work for our health either.
So what’s preventing us from getting on the path not only to economic recovery, but economic equality?
Canadians, and Torontonians, have a long way to go to end poverty, says the new report from World Vision Canada. If we really think about the implications of the numbers of Torontonians living in poverty, really think about what it means, what it looks like, what the impact is, when 1 in 10 people in Toronto are living on social assistance, then we have to start acting on solutions.
Toronto is the most expensive Canadian city to live in. Those of us who live here experience that first hand. So what are our solutions around affordable housing? Jobs? Access to health care for all? Food security? These social determinants that weave through the fabric of healthy or unhealthy societies can all be addressed at the three levels of government. We can easily make the connections between the social determinants of health and how good policy can make a positive impact for the health of Torontonians.
The big idea rising out of the income inequality conversation over the last few years, has been that when our societies are more equal, we all do better.