An Economy Built from Scratch?
This chapter considers Australia's historical narrative, beginning with an assessment of the Aboriginal contribution to the economy constructed by the first European settlers. In Europe, modern economic growth from the late eighteenth century onward occurred in the context of societies and economies that, though undergoing rapid changes in some regions and industries, also exhibited much continuity with centuries past. Furthermore, institutions and production techniques of ancient lineage persisted into the period of modernization, though undergoing varying degrees of adaptation. Similarly, when modern economic growth began in Japan in the middle of the nineteenth century, there was much to build on in terms of physical capital, human capital, social organization, and political institutions in order to facilitate the transition to industrialization and sustained higher levels of prosperity.
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