‘Navigating Austerity’ addresses a key policy question of our era: what happens to society and the environment when austerity dominates political and economic life? To get to the heart of this issue, Laura Bear tells the stories of boatmen, shipyard workers, hydrographers, port bureaucrats and river pilots on the Hooghly River, a tributary of the Ganges that flows into the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. Through their accounts, Bear traces the hidden currents of state debt crises and their often devastating effects. Taking the reader on a voyage along the river, Bear reveals how bureaucrats, entrepreneurs and workers navigate austerity policies. Their attempts to reverse the decline of ruined public infrastructures, environments and urban spaces lead Bear to argue for a radical rethinking of economics according to a social calculus.