Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe: Chapter on the Social Investment Market

CURA Researcher Robert Ogman has published a chapter on the social investment market in a recently published book on Urban Austerity in Europe.

Robert’s chapter discusses the relationship between austerity policies and the social investment market, showing government’s turn towards Social Impact Bonds in the hope of offsetting public sector budget cuts by attracting private investment to social service provision. He first explains the historical emergence of SIBs in the financial crisis of 2007/8, and SIBs’ narrative of cost-savings, before turning to their implementation in a concrete case, where the city of Peterborough hoped to use investor dollars to fund probationary services to reduce prisoner reoffending. He identifies a set of contradictions between the promises of SIBs as a cost-cutting mechanism and the resulting expansion of public expenditure, challenging the idea that this new public-private partnership may provide an easy solution to social and fiscal problems created by austerity. This chapter is part of Robert’s doctoral research on SIBs and the social investment market as part of a “social neoliberal” strategy to manage the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. His analysis of the Peterborough SIB is part of an international comparison between SIB development in the US and UK.

You can buy the book either directly from the publishing house (http://www.theaterderzeit.de/buch/urban_austerity/) or, of course, at your favorite book store. An e-book will soon be available as well.

Description and details are below:

Schönig, Barbara; Schipper, Sebastian (Hg.) (2016): Urban Austerity: Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe. Berlin: Theater der Zeit. 296 pages. ISBN 978-3-95749-083-4. 22€

What started as a mortgage crisis in 2007 and became a global financial and economic crisis in 2008 has been transformed into a sovereign debt crisis since 2010. In all of these interwoven phases, cities have been, in multiple ways, at the heart of the turmoil as indebted home-owner have been evicted, masses of people impoverished, public budgets squeezed, municipal infrastructures privatized, public services downsized, and, above all, austerity measures implemented. In view of the above, this book puts an issue into the center that affects most people living in urban regions across Europe – the idea that fiscal austerity is an unavoidable necessity that politics cannot escape no matter how harsh the consequences might be. To bring the effects of austerity politics at the forefront, contributors to this book expose actual urban problems in their spatiotemporal dimensions, discuss regulatory restructurings under a new regime of austerity urbanism, and reflect on the role of urban social movements struggling for progressive alternatives. We hope that this collection of counter-hegemonic narratives to neoliberal policies can make a small contribution to inspire critical urban scholars, political activists, and social movements in their struggle for progressive social change in Europe and elsewhere.

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