So far at least, austerity is winning the war

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, poses before presenting his annual budget to Parliament, outside 11 Downing Street on March
John Phillips | UK | Getty Images

While there's still a war to be fought, the austerity advocates are pretty clearly winning the battle over how to fix the global economy.

Whether it's in the euro zone, the U.K. or the U.S., economies are regaining their footing not through infusions of direct government spending but rather through old-school belt-tightening.

George Osborne, Britain's chancellor of the Exchequer, ran something of a victory lap on Thursday, taunting critics of his austerity policies as growth forecasts improved for the coming years. Osborne promised a continued policy of fiscal responsibility as the path to recovery.

Earlier in the week, ratings agency Fitch stopped just short of gushing over Greece, labeling "remarkable" the nation's ability to adjust its fiscal policies as it reaffirmed the credit rating of a nation that not long ago looked like it could not continue to function as a euro zone member.

And in the U.S., gross domestic product growth leaped to 3.6 percent in the third quarter, despite a full year's worth of hand-wringing over what tax increases—the "fiscal cliff "—and spending cuts known as sequestration would do to the economy.