The Vulnerable Country: Australia and the Global Economy
1 Jan 2009
Australia was born vulnerable. From its beginnings as a precarious convict settlement on the 'other side of the world', through the development of self-governing colonies, to Federation and beyond, recognising and dealing with vulnerability led Australians to embrace an insular attitude to the outside world, which in turn translated into state control over the economy and highly protectionist policies. So how did Australia transform from a protected, insular country to an outwardly focused, globalised one? And why, in the current economic climate, should Australia resist a return to its protectionist past? The Vulnerable Country begins with historical analysis of the interaction between politics and economics, covers the credit crunch of 2007 and culminates with the current global financial crisis. Tom Conley argues that now, more than ever, the state has a responsibility to promote diversification of trade while regulating economic activity and ensuring that the benefits of growth are spread as widely as possible.