The Australian Government considers withdrawing unemployment benefits from 16 to 17 year olds. There are constant calls for the slashing of government expenditure, greater productivity and deregulation of private enterprise. Attacks on the trade unions mount as unionists use strikes to defend the value of their pay packets in the face of inflation. The 'dole bludger' label distracts attention from the plight of those living below the poverty line in the 'lucky country'...it is 1981.
In this economic and political climate, younger historians and economists have turned back to look again at the earlier crisis - the Great Depression of the 1930s - to explore the meaning of the myths it left behind.
For, in spite of the array of depression studies, large gaps remain in our knowledge and understanding of the 1930s. In The Wasted Years? twelve histroians, economists, and political scientists trace the impact of the Great Depression and re-examine the causes and panaceas. A remarkable collection of letters gives a first-hand contemporary account of how one man faced unemployment. A statistical supplement provides the raw data for reassessment of the social and economic impact, and the book ends with the most comprehensive bibliography on the Great Depression ever published (800 items). An invaluable research aid for any student of the period.