The Austerity Lie

Francis Fish
3 min readApr 1, 2023

The wolf is in the house

Austerity is capitalism is austerity

Our owners pulled a fast one on us. They have been deconstructing the post-war social democratic privilege machine that was built on the backs of people in the global south and kidding us there is no money while their wealth doubles again and again. We’re told that austerity is necessary. It’s taken a long time to do this, the entitled baby boomers had to start dying off and then their children had to start believing the individualist nonsense about there being no alternative. The right wingers block or wreck things that might benefit the majority, the ones that claim to be left wing say there is no alternative.

Well, capitalism was always what it is. The brief post-war period up until the beginning of the 1980s is the anomaly. Capitalism is austerity and the thought that there is somehow a gentler capitalism without the constant drive to super-exploit the worker class is naive and was only true for certain parts of the world at certain times. It doesn’t fit the facts or the driving forces of capitalism.

There was a brief window, in some parts of the world, where worker class people managed to gain something like the upper hand and our owners had to give us a few crumbs from their table, preferably by stealing those crumbs from poor brown people far away. Austerity is not new, it is a return to business as usual. If you say you’re anti-austerity and don’t say this means you’re thoroughly anti-capitalist then you just want things to go back to a time when you could say I’m alright, Jack. You won’t be allowed to do this however much you wish it could be so. You may as well join the fight with the rest of us.

The wolf is already in your house, just in a different room quietly sneaking about waiting to eat you and your family. Saying you’re anti austerity without saying that means you are anti-capitalist means you think you might be able to barricade the door before the wolf starts howling and calling its friends for the feast. The wolf must be expelled. Any kind of barricade would only be temporary. It already ate your grandma.

Further reading

By 2009, every anti-worker ideologue and their devotees had a popularized concept under which to mobilize their arguments about how and why workers should absorb the excesses of those capitalists who wanted to maintain their wealthy lifestyles: austerity. In this sense, the austerity apparatus is simply that which functions to police the everyday operations of crisis capitalism. In another sense this apparatus is the mobilization of operations that are a normative part of capitalism even without a crisis But this is simply due to the fact that economic crises are also part of capitalism’s day-to-day functioning: capitalism is crisis, implicitly or explicitly

J. Moufawad-Paul Austerity Apparatus

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