Broomhill, Ray: Australian economic booms

Broomhill, Ray

Australian economic booms in historical perspective‘, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 61, June 2008, pp. 12-29

Part of a special issue on The Australian Economic Boom 1992-? including a number of articles relevant to economic and social policy aspects.

The current economic boom in Australia is part of a historical pattern. Australian development has occurred in several phases of capital accumulation: an era of primary capitalist accumulation – from 1788 until the economic crash of the early 1840s; the first long boom – from the colonial gold rushes of the 1850s until the Depression of the early 1890s; the era of early national development from Federation until the Depression decade of the 1930s; the second long boom – from 1945 until the global crisis of the 1970s; and the era of neoliberal globalism from the early 1990s to the present1. Each previous boom featured a burst of innovation and growth followed by economic collapse. Each collapse was characterised by intensive capital, labour and state restructuring during which there occurred significant changes in the role of the state, shifts in economic policy, and fundamental realignments of class forces. These phases of restructuring have been periods of creative destruction through which the problems increasingly inherent in the previous boom were at least partly resolved and the conditions for a new phase of accumulation forged. (p. 12)


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