Misconceptions: “America is Like Greece”

The other day I found myself in conversation with one of my fellow students about whether or not the British government had too large of budget cuts too soon in the economic recovery. I argued that it was fairly self-evident that it had done so, considering the superior economic performance of most nations that had refrained from issuing cuts or embarked on a policy of stimulus. The response he gave me was an interesting one–he argued that the advantages being enjoyed by the stimulus countries were short term, and advised me to look at France, a country that had refrained from austerity and has recently had its credit rating reduced by Moody’s, is seeing stagnant growth rates, and has a host of other problems. I responded that Eurozone countries were in a different kind of economic crisis from countries like Britain and America, and that different rules applied–this was met with scepticism, as if I were trying to weasel my way out of the point. So today I would like to make the broad argument that the economic problems being experienced in non-Euro countries like America, Britain, Japan, and Canada are of a fundamentally different nature from the kind being experienced in France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. So different, in fact, that comparing the former to the latter is intellectually useless.

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