Nick Shaxson ■ Quote of the day – accountants and austerity


Want to know why austerity is so popular among the political classes of so many countries? Well, there are many reasons, but here is one you may not have considered. From Prof. Prem Sikka, via email:

“Accountants are trained to be class warriors and austerity is written into their psyche as they are taught to reduce labour cost, but never the return to capital.”

How true. Accountants are trained to tidy and balance the books. They rarely have a deep understanding of economics, so austerity just ‘seems’ right to so many of them (for a good recent discussion of this, see Simon Wren-Lewis’s long article in the London Review of Books). And let’s not forget the accountancy firms’ enormous, but hardly-noticed influence on politics and economic policy-making, as this video illustrates. Although it’s UK-focused, it has wide international relevance.



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