Marketing Seminar - Emeritus Professor Jon Altman

Seminar Room 10.039, Level 10, The Spot Building (198 Berkeley St)


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Dr Michal Carrington

T: +61 3 9035 8186

PRESENTER: Emeritus Professor Jon Altman (School of Regulation and Global Governance, ANU)
TOPIC: “Economic prospects for Indigenous Lands: ‘Developing the North’ to avoid accumulation by re-dispossession” 

Since federation in 1901 the settler state has imagined that Australia’s north would be developed just like the south by the ‘white’ race. But in the last 40 years, more and more of the north has been legally returned to Aboriginal ownership under land rights and then native title laws. Much of the land returned has not been amenable to ‘free’ market capitalist forms of economic development hence its ‘repossession’. In this seminar I look to explore the ongoing attempts to ‘Develop the North’ as if it is no different from the temperate south (suspending for the moment debate about the environmental impacts of southern ‘development’ on biodiversity and climate). While there is scant evidence that a market capitalist developmental agenda is succeeding in the north, there is considerable evidence that the socioeconomic status of Aboriginal land owners is at best stagnating at worst dangerously declining, despite decades of governmental effort to ‘close the gaps’. My overarching argument is that institutional arrangements for developing the north are of deeply-flawed design that will never improve the circumstances of Indigenous peoples on their repossessed lands. I look to explore alternative arrangements that will enhance wellbeing prospects for remote living Aboriginal people by mixing capitalist and non-capitalist ways of making a living utilising Aboriginal comparative advantages in 21st century Australia.

Jon Altman began his academic career as an economist at the University of Melbourne in 1976 before switching his disciplinary focus to anthropology from 1978. He has mainly worked at the ANU where he was the inaugural director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research from 1990 to 2010 and where he is now an Emeritus Professor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance. From 2016-2019 he was a research professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, where he remains in an honorary capacity.

RSVPs are not necessary.