Thursday, September 26, 2013

An unusual reason why Australia prospered?

Andrew Leigh MP has posted a review of Why Australia Prospered: The Shifting Sources of Economic Growth by Ian McLean. This includes an interesting comment on North Queensland given the renewed nationalist drive to "develop the north": 

A third counterfactual is if the northern part of Queensland (Australia’s Texas) had been successful in creating another colony in the 1880s. McLean suggests that such a colony might have consisted of an aristocracy of white planters relying on indentured labour from the nearby Pacific islands. Such an experiment would have looked more like the Caribbean, or the antebellum south, and might well have produced similarly poor long-run growth outcomes. The decision by British colonial authorities to veto such a colony was regarded as a minor one at the time, but turned out to be an important turning point in Australian economic history.

Why Australia Prospered has been well reviewed since publication last year and may be worth looking up at the library!

Updated related link from ABC Far North: Sugar slaves black chapter in agricultural history

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