How Private Capital Strangled Our Cities

Samuel Zipp in The Nation:

If debt ensures stability and solvency for some, the economic growth it propels fuels dependency and inequality for others, not only between creditor and debtor but also further down the line, as the borrower passes on the costs of debt to those with less power to control the terms of the deal. This devil’s bargain is particularly true when it comes to municipal debt, argues the Stanford University historian Destin Jenkins in The Bonds of Inequality, his new book on the power the bond market has leveraged over San Francisco and other US cities. The debt-financed spending that cities have long used to spur growth, Jenkins contends, has also underwritten the racial and income inequality of the post–World War II metropolis, while funneling profits to bankers and reinforcing city dependency on finance capitalism.

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