Austerity is the wrong prescription for the world’s wellbeing | Larry Elliott

Findings about the impact of a course of heavy-duty cuts on life expectancy make grim reading

The quack doctors rolled into town just as the global economy had come off the critical list. It was 2009 and the message from the austerity medicine show was simple: the only way back to full health was a course of heavy-duty cuts.

Expert opinion was divided. There were other diagnoses available. There were economists who said austerity was the equivalent of going back to the days of blood-letting – but they lost the argument. The prescription, though it varied a bit from country to country, was pretty much the same across the developed world: get those budget deficits down.

Under Greece’s bailout, health spending fell from 9.8% of GDP in 2008 to 8.1% in 2014

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Shadow banks, trade wars, Trump … clouds gather over the IMF’s paradise

In Bali this week, the mood of the world’s gathered finance ministers will be darker than a year ago

The alarms bells have already started to sound. And this week it is expected to be announced formally that the global economy is running out of steam.

As finance ministers, central bankers, academics and other delegates prepare to travel to Bali for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), optimism about the future is at a low ebb.

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The only real ‘Brexit dividend’ comes from not leaving | William Keegan

There is no exit model that improves economic growth, and this disastrous project has stopped us tackling real social ills

I know that Theresa May is beleaguered on all sides – not least her own – but did she realise what she was saying when she “warned” the Conservative conference that divisions over Brexit “could stop the UK leaving entirely”?

Since stopping the UK leaving entirely is just what we Remainers wish to achieve, one can but marvel at the prime minister’s pronouncement. I am tempted to add “long live the divisions”, but the truth is that the sooner this Brexit fantasy is put to rest, the better.

To bring public services up to scratch, there needs to be a general increase in the willingness to cough up

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An end to austerity? Little hope, but more cuts could upend Tory election prospects

Tory delegates breathed a sigh of relief at Theresa May’s conference speech, but the chancellor has a rather different attitude to the country’s purse strings

Tory cheers during Theresa May’s conference speech when she declared the end of austerity were an audible cry for freedom. The party faithful who attended last week’s annual bash in Birmingham wanted to break the chains of spending cuts that could deny them victory whenever the next general election comes along.

The pain inflicted on much of the population since 2010 has energised voters, prompting many of them to join the Labour party, which staged a dramatic resurgence in 2017 and denied the Tories an outright victory. Another election, especially against a backdrop of even more severe cuts, could spell the end of even that slim majority.

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