The suicidal pro-austerity mania sweeping the globe rests its entire case on six locally-specific incidents involving mainly small economies which enjoyed recovery despite a major austerity programme.
Krugman looks at the six and spots that in all of the cases, there was a massive special, local circumstance that cannot apply to the current world.
Fiscal Fantasies - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com
We are one of these example, as it happens: 1987-89 - our boom was thanks to a huge devaluation rather than the McSharry cuts frenzy. Verdict: Of no relevance to current global situation.
Canada 1994-1998: the austerity programme of that time took place in a boom environment, as interest rates were falling. There is no global boom and global interest rates cannot fall as they're effectively at zero. Verdict: Of no relevance to current global situation.
Denmark 1982-86: interest rates were falling by 10 % points! I repeat for the uninformed: this cannot happen now unless we get banks to PAY you 9% to borrow money. as interest rates were falling. Verdict: Of no relevance to current global situation.
Finland and Sweden 1992-2000: in this period the small nations (next to an oil giant, replete with free-spending vulgar millionaires) developed a huge current account surplus (12% in Finland's case). The world can only manage this if we make contact with aliens and somehow persuade them to buy lots of our stuff. Verdict: Of no relevance to current global situation.
So there you have them: the exhaustive list of all the austerity programmes in economic history that did not coincide with massive economic collapses. Every other austerity programme ever came with a massive bust of misery and destruction of wealth and productive capacity lying idle and falling apart.
And as Krugman shows, the handful that got lucky were all down to a stroke of locally-applicable good fortune that just cannot apply today, in this planet.