16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Eye-opening but flawed, 25 Oct 2010
This is a much needed book in that it will surely spark debate about our economic and social health. It is painstakingly researched and written in a lively and accessible style. It is difficult to argue with the presentation of the economic short-termism from Thatcher onwards. And yet. The conclusions seem simplistic and, in my opinion, somewhat different from what is really happening to "The Jilted Generation". Statistics are tossed out regularly, but some of them seem rather contentious. For example, there are "69 applicants for every job a graduate applies for". Not in my world (teaching) there aren't. How was this figure arrived at in the first place? The authors (ironically journalists under 30 living in London who have just written a moderately successful book) confidently predict that people will be in their 40s or 50s before they will be able to buy a house. Really? Many young professionals in my city (Nottingham) are buying houses when they are in their late twenties and early thirties. One of the assumptions the authors make is that almost every baby-boomer is living high on the hog with a few spare properties to rent to hapless young people. It isn't true- obviously. Nor did the boomer generation have it quite as easy as the book suggests. We started off living in rat-trap flats and then bought our first houses in cheap and dodgy areas. "The Jilted Generation" is a generation heavily dependent on its parents. There are social as well as economic reasons for this. One of them is that the boomers have defiantly refused to grow up and have pampered their children to a ridiculous degree. The assumption that they are living at home because they can't find anywhere to live is false logic. The ones I know living with parents do so because it is cheaper and more comfortable. Graduates (and this book is overwhelmingly about the young middle class) seem to think they have a right to jobs that pay as well as their parents' currently do and live in the same areas. The authors conveniently fail to mention that when the boomers bought their houses interest rates were sky high- one of the reasons houses were cheaper. The real cost of a house is the monthly repayments not the sign in the estate agents window.
None of this detracts from the basic economic analysis in this book and the short-sighted politicians and greedy bankers have a lot to answer for. However, there is the not so faint sound of a well-heeled whine emanating from an otherwise thought provoking book.