UCSB international political economy professor Benjamin Cohen and SBCC economics and finance professor Peter Naylor will speak at the public forum “Fixing the Global Economy: Austerity, Stimulus or What?” on Oct. 17 at the Santa Barbara Public Library.
The Center for Global Dialogue — a local committee providing non-partisan discussions on pressing global issues — is hosting the free discussion with moderator Sander Vanocur, a former correspondent for NBC and writer for The Washington Post. The talk aims to address the pros and cons of government spending in countries in need of economic revival, and the effects these decisions can have across the globe.
According to Cohen, the economic problems of each individual country are a concern for all nations in the world.
“This is a central debate in several parts of the world right now,” Cohen said. “We have been living in an economic crisis since 2008, unemployment is over eight percent, Europe is in a recession, China is slowing down sharply, as well as India and Brazil. This is something that affects us directly.”
While the event will be non-partisan, Cohen said reducing funds to government programs to reduce the deficit will not repair national debt.
“The historical reality is that countries do not solve this problem through austerity; it gets worse, not better,” Cohen said. “This has been demonstrated in a number of the European countries. The result is that government loses revenue, and as a result … debts grow larger, not smaller and the problem is not solved.”
UCSB economics professor Peter Rupert, director of UCSB’s Economic Forecast Project, said that it is important to control deficits, but the solution may not be a stimulus.
“Any spending that’s done today through deficit spending means you have to pay higher taxes in the future to pay for that,” Rupert said. “Individuals who know their tax rates are going to go up don’t want to become poor when their rates increase, so they save more today, which is exactly what you don’t want them to do with a stimulus package; you want them to spend more.”
Second-year biology major Garett Kurahara said he is glad these discussions are taking place within the academic community as well as the political realm.
“The economy seems to have improved from a few years ago, but it could definitely use more work,” Kurahara said. “It is great that professors are searching for solutions as well as the political bureaucrats. The world economy no doubt has a huge impact on the economy of the United States.”
Professor Naylor declined to speak about the forum, but noted that he would remain impartial throughout the discussion.
The event will take place in the Faulkner Gallery within the Santa Barbara Public Library, located on 40 East Anapamu Street. Refreshments will be served at 5:15 p.m. and the program will begin at 5:45 p.m.