Literature in our Collection

Butlin, Noel George: Economics and the Dreamtime. A Hypothetical History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1993, ISBN 0521438209

Table of Contents        ¦         Cover Text        ¦         Book Review

Table of Contents

Preface -vii-

Acknowledgements -ix-

Figures -xi-

Maps -xi-

Tables -xi-

Introduction -1-

Part 1: The palaeoeconomic history of Aboriginal migration

1. Introduction -8-

2. Conventional views and alternative approaches -11-

3. Non-Malthusian issues: pathways and innovations -14-

4. Scarcity possibilities in Aboriginal migration -35-

5. Some possible migration scenarios -42-

6. A synthesis -49-

Part II: Development, structure and function of Aboriginal economy

7. Introduction -52-

8. The process of early settlement -57-

9. Variety in the precontact Aboriginal economy -66-

10. The nature and function of Aboriginal economy -71-

11. Dynamic elements in the Aboriginal economy -87-

Part III: Disease, economics and demography

12. Introduction -98-

13. The problem of an exposed population -102-

14. Re-estimating precontact populations -121-

15. Turning the models around -133-

Part IV: The establishment of a bridgehead economy: 1788-1810

16. Introduction -142-

17. History and theory -146-

18. Free lunches, antipodean style -158-

Part V: The takeover process: 1788-1850

19. Introduction -184-

20. British development in the long run -186-

21. The hunter gatherers of empire -190-

22. British, American and Macassan presence in the takeover -196-

23. The major players -199-

24. Aborigines and British law -202-

25. The economics of takeover -205-

26. The composition and demographic impact of disease -215-

27. The interaction of disease with resistance, integration and submission -221-

28. Conclusions -227-

Bibliography -231-

Appendix 1: Preliminary model/checklist of Aboriginal migration to Australia -243-

Appendix 2: NOAA depth contour maps -246-

Index -247-

Cover Text

A common perception in Australia is that the influence of the Aborigines on British settlement was minimal. The economic significance of Aboriginal culture for the colonisers is rarely addressed and until now has not been closely studied by an economic historian. This imaginative book presents a concept of a pre-European Aboriginal economy. It shows how an Aboriginal presence over millenia shaped the local environment and responded to it, so that the Aboriginal economy developed into an ordered system of decision making able to satisfy the wants of the people and maintain a population much larger than had previously been thought. The book closely analyses the processes which allowed economic control of a country to pass, after more than 60,000 years in Aboriginal hands, into European hands within sixty years of settlement. Professor Butlin claims that it was not until 1850 that combined black and white production exceeded the 'value' of black production in 1788, prior to British colonisation. His presentation of the contrast between one of the world's most ancient economies and one of its youngest is both illuminating and exciting. The scope of 'Economics and the Dreamtime' is breathtaking. It covers a period of 60,000 years, from the migration of Australia's first inhabitants from South-east Asia to the arrival of European settlers and the subsequent disintegration of traditional life and decimation of the Aboriginal population. Professor Butlin's reconstruction of an ancient economy is informed by prehistory, oceanography, climatology, demography, geomorphology and anthropology. The book will be read not only by economic historians, but also general historians, prehistorians, historical geographers and anthropologists.