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The Roundtable

New York's Fiscal Crisis And The Rise Of Austerity Politics

Book Cover - Fear City

  When the news broke in 1975 that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue.

In Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics, historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the remarkable story of the crisis that engulfed the city.

Kim Phillips-Fein  is the author of Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal. She teaches history at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and has written for The NationDissentThe BafflerThe Atlantic, and The New York Times, among other publications. She lives in New York City.

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