Bezuinigingen: de voorbeeldfunctie van kleine landen

BRUSSEL – Gewoonlijk vormt het economisch beleid van kleine landen het interessegebied van slechts enkele specialisten. Maar soms ziet de wereld de ervaringen van kleine landen ineens als bewijs dat een bepaalde beleidsaanpak het beste werkt.

Vandaag de dag worden landen als Griekenland, de Baltische staten en IJsland vaak opgeroepen om voor of juist tegen bezuinigingen te pleiten. Zo betoogt de econoom en Nobelprijswinnaar Paul Krugman, kijkend naar het bbp van Letland dat nog steeds 10% onder de piek van vóór de crisis staat, dat de “bezuinigingen-plus-loondruk”-aanpak niet werkt. Volgens hem lijkt IJsland, dat van buiten geen bezuinigingen kreeg opgelegd en zijn munt devalueerde, veel beter af te zijn. Anderen wijzen echter naar Estland dat na het uitbreken van de crisis strikte bezuinigingen doorvoerde, een financiële crisis wist af te wenden en nu weer krachtig groeit. Daarentegen maakt Griekenland, dat de begrotingsaanpassingen te lang uitstelde, een diepe crisis door en blijft maar in een recessie steken.

Beide kampen vergeten gewoonlijk te vermelden dat de voornaamste idiosyncratische kenmerken en specifieke uitgangsposities van die landen directe vergelijkingen zinloos kunnen maken.

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