Hard Times: The divisive toll of the economic slump
Yale University Press (Footprint), $30 hb, 310 pp
It is now more than six years since the Global Financial Crisis threatened to topple the banking systems of the Western world. Although a complete breakdown in the financial system was ultimately avoided, one consequence of the events of 2008 has been the biggest slump in economic activity since the Great Depression. Australia was, in the main, spared the economic damage that ravaged large parts of Europe, and there has been little discussion in these parts of the causes and social effects of what the authors refer to as the ‘Great Recession’. Somewhat surprisingly, on the evidence presented in this book (and despite both the United States and the United Kingdom being severely affected) it would seem that the Anglosphere at large is guilty of what the authors call the ‘veil of complacency’. The book asserts that in those countries there is little concern for either the financial consequences or the victims of the crisis. Why should this be the case? Perhaps the Great Recession was not as bad as the headlines have suggested.