Writing in the Oz, Alan Moran begins a case for wage cuts as a response to recession with the claim
Until the 1930s, recessions tended to be short and sharp, and financial ruin was largely confined to the speculators whose exuberance had diverted capital into ventures where it was less than productive.
Much the same assumption appears to underlie the thinking of those who propose a return to the macroeconomic policies of the 19th century, such as the gold standard. Economic statistics for this period aren’t exactly comparable to those available today, but, such as they are, they don’t support the claim. In the US, for example, the longest-ever recession, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research was that of the 1870s (following the Panic of 1873, which in turn followed the US shift from bimetallism to a gold standard). As the NBER data shows, 19th century recessions commonly lasted for more than a year.
In Australia, the long and deep depression of the 1890s, and the substantial wage cuts imposed during that depression (with employers getting the full backing of governments) were a major factor in the formation of the Labor Party and the shift to a parliamentary, as opposed to a purely industrial strategy, for the labour movement.