The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an unprecedented human and economic crisis. Governments are taking strong actions, enforcing quarantines to reduce contagion, testing populations, building emergency intensive care units. Governments have also launched large fiscal stimulus plans to protect jobs and the economy, as well as temporary social protection programs such as income/food support, subsidies to utilities and care services.
Austerity policies pushed by international financial institutions have weakened public health systems, despite current financial support packages, condemning many people to die.
After years of austerity, a number of Eurozone countries are now considering expansionary
fiscal policies. And in the UK, government spending is set to return to levels last seen in the 1970s
. But austerity abounds elsewhere in the world, including in some of the poorest countries.
While this week Ministers of Finance and economists meet in Washington to confront global economic challenges at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings
, the majority of the world population lives with austerity cuts and see their living standards deteriorating. World leaders must reverse this trend.
Analysis of the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) expenditure projections for 187 countries between 2005 and 2020 reveals that there have been two distinct phases of government spending patterns since the onset of the global economic crisis.