Thomas Piketty: Anti-austerity parties are good for Europe

Jessica Morris
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Thomas Piketty has said anti-austerity parties good for Europe (Source: Getty)

Economist Thomas Piketty's latest argument that the increased popularity of anti-austerity parties is actually "good news for Europe" will no-doubt rile many.

He took the world by storm last year with the publication of Capital in the 21st Century which argued for a global, progressive tax of capital to combat increasing equality.

It's attracted attention (and criticism) from the likes of tax-cutting guru Arthur Laffer and Microsoft-founder Bill Gates among others.

Today Piketty has argued Southern European states - like Greece, Spain and Italy - are being made to repay their debts far too quickly. Consequentially the country's citizens have suffered under a deluge of deficit-cutting policies.

"The French far right is much more dangerous than Syriza or Podemos, which are pro-European parties that want to build a different Europe," he said in a television interview to be broadcast on 18 January the Guardian reports.

"You can argue that, in Syriza's case, their policies are not as clear as they might be, but you have to offer them support because they want to build a democratic Europe, which is all we need.

Greece is currently gearing up for snap elections on 25 January after its parliament failed to elect a new leader in December. Syriza is the Greek anti-austerity party which has the lead in a number of national polls.

Commentators are wary of the party scooping the largest number of seats in the Greek parliament. It would lead to a renewed bout of political risk, with the worst-case (albeit unlikely) scenario being a "Grexit."

Spain's anti-establishment party Podemos' leaders have allied themselves with Syriza in Greece. It argues political elites have an interest in preserving a system which forces economic hardship on ordinary people.

Podemos' regularly lead polls as Spain nears a general election due by the end of this year, and regional and municipal elections which are expected in May.

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