The musician David Byrne pointed to Portugal as an example of the fact that austerity is not the only possible response to the global economic and financial crisis unleashed in 2008 in a personal blog post published today.
About a year ago, the 66-year-old musician launched a blog/newsletter called ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ as a ‘quasi-therapeutic’ reaction to the daily depressed mood in news on the world, and in which today he published a text about Portugal, giving the country as an example that there is an alternative to discourse, and to practice, austerity as the only way to respond to the economic crisis.
“Was austerity the only possible response to the debt that plagued many nations after the world economic turmoil after 2008?” The answer, if we look at Portugal and a few other places, is not. austerity was inevitable and necessary – it was a lie. There was and there is another way, “wrote David Byrne.
The article draws heavily from many articles published in the international press, especially in The New York Times, to recall the country’s path since the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis, which led to austerity with a strong impact on wages and public services, which led people “to feel left behind.”
“People did not just feel left behind, they were left behind. The result was a reasonable dose of indignation, with political expression in the divisions and populism that we see growing everywhere,” wrote David Byrne.
Continuing to rely on the international press, the founding musician of the Talking Heads later referred to the moment of inversion that represented the arrival to the Government of António Costa with the support of a parliamentary majority of left, that had the consequence the reversal of the cuts in income, the recovery of public investment, the reduction of unemployment, much based on the explosion in tourism.
An optimistic climate, which he himself remembers to have experienced.
“This is very encouraging. I was there on my world tour and things seemed to be exploding … one of the things we noticed is that people are moving to Portugal … the rumour has spread that it’s a good place to live, especially among Brazilians whose country is going through a crisis. The climate is optimistic, which has the effect of stimulating investment and innovation, “Byrne wrote.
In the face of the Portuguese example, the musician suggests that it may be time for “economists and financial advisors around the world to begin reviewing their policies and recommendations – resulting in less pain, less suffering, and healthier economies globally.“