Austerity through fiscal restraint – government debt reduction and deficit elimination – is en vogue once again. As of 2012, all but four members of the G-20 have declared this to be a leading policy priority and one which is scheduled to take precedence well into the current decade (see G-20 2012). At the extreme, dealing with an acute sovereign debt crisis in Greece has meant the application of seven austerity packages between 2010 and 2013 alone, each one employing some combination of public sector freezes and cuts applied to budgets, services, programmes, and employment. Worldwide, social reaction to austerity runs the gamut, from marches, demonstrations and protest to general strikes and political party organizing around anti-austerity platforms. Though its promoters tout austerity’s tools as technocratic imperatives for resolving debt and budgetary disequilibrium, accompanying structural reform of the public sector, affecting both employees’ livelihoods and the welfare of society in general, suggests there is clearly much more at stake than a narrow interpretation of austerity will allow. The politics of austerity are entrenching and (re)asserting processes of neoliberalization at global, national, and urban scales, much as they did during earlier iterations of fiscal restraint beginning in the 1970s. In this sense, the history and hegemony of neoliberalism is intrinsically intertwined with that of austerity, and the recent return of fiscal consolidation is both unique to its context and part of a longer historical trend. Austerity is a signature of the neoliberal era much as neoliberalism can be understood as austerity.