"Rigueur" is the current French translation for "austerity".
It is the medecine that is being prescribed by fiscal conservatives all over the planet, and that smug Irishman (or Scotch man ?) in the link that Yoyo (?) stuck down for us over there in the jungle is the kind of person who obviously gets all excited over the prospect of austerity, in the face of a Stieglitz who, in my opinion, has a much better grasp on the... psychological aspects of the financial crisis, and a much better understanding of just what fiat money is. (I am not sure that I really understand exactly what fiat money is, but I am not sure that people like that Irish (?) on the BBC program are as competent to give me lessons as they think they are...)
I still maintain that fiscal conservatism at this point in time is part of the elder brother, entitlement psychology. It is particularly espoused by finger pointing people. Ones who feel self righteous. Autonomous.
I neither feel self righteous (well, at least I try to limit this feeling in myself...) and definitely NOT autonomous. I am extremely dependant. I AM somebody's dependant, to use the accepted vocabulary.
There's lots of talk about bailing out/not bailing out.
And I am starting to change my tune on this subject.
For complicated reasons, that have to do with what I stuck down in the jungle about the economics of benediction and malediction.
I said that the very IDEA of growth is based on the economics of benediction.
This means that...
The paradigm of growth, what enables us to understand it can be seen when you draw a family tree.
If you have ever seen a family tree, you will notice that it starts with two people at the top, and then it spreads, until at the bottom it takes on the form of a big pine tree. (There are different ways of drawing the tree, this way is one of the most familiar).
The growth that you see in the family tree, from one generation to the next is, in its own way, a form of exponential growth. This kind of growth is like... multiplying the loaves and the fishes.
One "little" detail that you need to keep in mind : exponential growth, benediction is ONLY POSSIBLE OVER TIME. WHAT MAKES IT EXPONENTIAL IS the way that it deploys over time. NO TIME, NO EXPONENTIAL GROWTH.
I maintain that this paradigm is what organizes (or should organize ? not sure...) the economy.
When, in Genesis, God says "multiply", he is talking about this "economic" growth that can not be separated from the idea of generation itself, from... copulation, from giving birth, etc.
These paradigms are deeply entrenched in us. Culturally. Perhaps biologically. I'm not sure.
So, back to the crisis.
John Maynard Keynes, from what I have heard (mea culpa, I haven't read Keynes, just about him...) is one of the few economists to really understand the psychological foundations of economics, and these foundations are VERY VERY important.
Keynes understood that in order for human beings to feel alive, they need to GROW. Exponentially.
This means that, ANY PLAN, ANY POLICY WHICH PROMOTES REDUCTION IN ANY FORM enters into conflict with this human necessity to grow.
Fiscal austerity MAY be technically "wise", looked at from the balance sheet.
BUT, and this is a big but...
JUST WHAT GOOD IS A SOLUTION WHICH IS FISCALLY, FINANCIALLY WISE IF IT IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE ?
The danger with REDUCING is that you propulse yourself and your entourage into the spiral of MALEDICTION, as I suggested.
EVERYTHING that is under the sign of the.. NEGATIVE is negatively charged with... NEGATIVE meaning. For all of us.
That is why we need to be careful about the "solutions" we find to these problems.
I'm going to nuance this generalization to read... REDUCING FOR THE SAKE OF REDUCING is the biggest danger. And I think that the austerity packages are a form of reducing for the sake of reducing. Reduction as an end in and of itself. And I am firmly opposed to this. Reduction in one sector must be counterbalanced by growth, the perception of growth in ANOTHER area, at the very least.
Conclusion : AUSTERITY IS NOT THE ANSWER FOR GREECE.
Austerity was... NOT THE ANSWER for post WW1 Germany either...
I'm not sure that human beings are capable of seeing austerity as anything other than a form of punishment and/or humiliation.