The idea of an economy taking a geographical journey highlights the importance of changing spatialities and how these shape and result from economic change. It also focuses on the geographical scaling of key processes. Using these insights, this paper explores three decades of economic change in Australia in which the nation State has played a central role in the operation of markets and accumulation processes, albeit with dramatic shifts in the qualitative nature of that role. Such shifts have been crucial during the emergence of Australia's particular variety of neoliberalism. The paper explores the liberalisation of Australia's financial and corporate environment, trade policies and the industrial relations environment. The three cases suggest contradictions inherent in the State's adherence to a neoliberal reform agenda, in the name of globalisation, while facing: first, political needs to retain sovereignty over national security and tighten border protection; and second, multi‐scaled political processes including clashes with State governments grappling with regional and local impacts of change. There has been no simple roll‐out of neoliberalism in Australia since the mid 1990s. Geographical scales, constructed contingently by social and political agents, have contributed in fundamental ways to the power and direction of economic reform. Despite powerful re‐scalings to both global and local levels over the past three decades, there is no evidence of a diminished role for the nation State.
Geographical Research – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2006
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