Weaving Analysis and Narrative
This introductory chapter provides an inquiry into why Australia is rich—which adopts a historical approach because the roots of prosperity are embedded in the past. The levels of income observed in the currently rich economies are in every case the result of very long-run processes. Economies do not move rapidly from poverty and backwardness to advanced industrial status and concomitant prosperity despite the achievements of some being described as “economic miracles.” Even with the impressive growth rates recently recorded in a number of poor countries such as India and China, attaining incomes comparable to the rich countries takes many decades. The need for a historical perspective arises also because any persuasive explanation for Australia's current high-income status must highlight long-established features of its economy and society.
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