Bankers: Go The 'Latvian' Option

December 26, 2010
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The “Latvian option” is the buzzword of the moment among European bankers and financial journalists. In October, the Latvian people voted in a coalition headed by the incumbent prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis, whose government had savaged social benefits, cut pay and inflated unemployment in 2009. Was this proof that austerity measures could not only work, but actually be popular? Was Latvia the model that Greece, Ireland and Spain should emulate?

The Wall Street Journal, for one, has published several articles promoting this view. Most recently, Charles Doxbury advocated Latvia’s internal devaluation and austerity strategy as the model for Europe’s crisis nations to follow. The view commonly argued is that Latvia’s economic freefall (the deepest of any nation from the 2008 crisis) has finally stopped and that recovery (albeit very fragile and modest) is under way.

Read more of Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson’s article in The Guardian.

The article was also referenced in the NY Times.

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