The most famous episode of austerity was during the interwar years, as Germany, Britain, France and Japan all fought to stay on the Gold Standard even amid the Great Depression. The deflationary impact of keeping their currencies pegged to gold, along with the austerity policies they followed to do so, was disastrous.
In Britain, unemployment jumped from 10.4% in 1929 to 22.1% by early 1932, even while government debt surged.
Yes, so what did we do next? We came off the gold standard, devalued the curency, cut government spending and the economy came back. We were back to 1929 by 1934 in fact.
What have we done this time? Devalued the currency and ……..well, you see? The very example Chakrabortty is using shows that they are at least attempting to follow the policies that really did work last time around.