Capitalism in Australia: New histories for a reimagined future

14 September 2020

Capitalism is back. Three decades ago, when all alternatives to liberal democracy and free markets appeared discredited, talk of capitalism seemed passé. Now, after a decade of political and economic turmoil, capitalism and its temporal critique of progress and decline again seems an indispensable category to understanding a world in flux. Among the social sciences, historians have led both the embrace and critique of this ‘re-emergent’ concept. This roundtable discussion between leading and emerging Australian scholars working across histories of economy, work, policy, geography and political economy, extends this agenda. Representing the outcome of a workshop convened at La Trobe University in November 2018 and responding to questions posed by conveners Huf and Rees, five participants debate the nature, utility and future of the new constellation of ‘economic’ historical scholarship. While conducted well before the outbreak of COVID-19, the ensuring discussion nevertheless speaks saliently to the crises of our times.