MARSEILLE, France – After months of talk that Europe can only be saved by slashing its spending, a growing chorus of voices is calling for a new tack, encouraging governments to instead stimulate growth — even if that means spending money.

As a slowdown in the global economic recovery threatens to undo Europe’s austerity efforts, experts are reviving a fundamental debate on how best to dig out of the crisis of high debt and low growth.

One view has been to cut debt regardless of short-term consequences on growth.

But as slower growth eats away at those austerity plans’ progress, economists have been reconsidering the merits of boosting growth to lower debt.

Germany, which is shouldering much of the cost of propping up its weaker eurozone neighbors, has been one of the most fervent advocates of spending cuts.

The European Central Bank has also chimed in, hounding countries like Italy to pass austerity measures as a sign they’re worthy of receiving help.

Even countries like France that are in better shape have been trying to calm skittish investors — and drive down their borrowing rates — by promising to cut costs.

But those measures have drawn fierce criticism that they risk driving the recovery into reverse and heap more pain onto those who can least afford it.

Instead, the U.S. and others have a different answer: It’s growth, stupid.

As President Obama unveiled a huge plan to boost job creation, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner called on other governments to strengthen economic growth as he prepared to meet officials from the world’s most developed economies in Marseille, France, on Friday.

The argument put forth by Geithner and others is that the best deficit-reducer is growth: When the economy is humming, it offsets spending and drives down both the size and the proportion of deficits.

Rather than trying to scrimp their way back to prosperity, world economies need to spend money to make money.