This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates how young people in Europe, UK, USA and Australia now bear a disproportionate and increasing burden of poverty and disadvantage. It engages with a debate launched by James Cote in his account of a 'new political economy of youth'. The book explores ethical and social justice issues bearing on the relations between generations. It examines the evolution of policies that portray some young people as symptoms and sources of disorder. The book discusses findings from recent surveys that suggest in most western developed societies people under the age of 30 appear to be becoming increasingly pessimistic. It draws on the political economy of generation model to explore how young people understand themselves and their political responses. This involves sampling the ways some young people understand themselves and how many are now challenging and extending conventional understandings of politics.