This book considers the role played by co-operative agriculture as a critical economic model which, in Australia, helped build public capital, drive economic development and impact political arrangements. In the case of colonial Western Australia, the story of agricultural co-operation is inseparable from that of the story of Charles Harper. Harper was a self-starting, pioneering frontiersman who became a political, commercial and agricultural leader in the British Empire's most isolated colony during the second half of the Victorian era. He was convinced of the successful economic future of Western Australia but also pragmatic enough to appreciate that the unique challenges facing the colony were only going to be resolved by the application of unorthodox thinking.
Using Harper's life as a foil, this book examines Imperial economic thinking in relation to the co-operative form of economic organisation, the development of public capital, and socialism. It uses this discussion to demonstrate the transfer of socialistic ideas from the centre of the Empire to the farthest reaches of the Antipodes where they were used to provide a rhetorical crutch in support of purely pragmatic co-operative establishments.
David Gilchrist is Professor at the UWA Business School, University of Western Australia, Australia. He researches in the areas of economic history, public policy and financial reporting, including in relation to public sector and Nonprofit sector reform. Gilchrist has held a number of senior roles in the not-for-profit, commercial and public sectors. He has taught accounting and finance at the London School of Economics and Portsmouth University in the UK, as well as at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University in Australia. He was Associate Dean of the School of Business, University of Notre Dame Australia and Adjunct Professor of Non-profit Leadership at that institution.
1. The Long Stagnation1.1 Western Australian Economic Growth and the Role of Co-operation1.2 The Imperial Inheritance and Pragmatic Co-operation1.3 The Organisation of this book 2. Visions of English Co-operation in the Victorian Age: Western Australia's Intellectual Inheritance2.1 The Fault-Lines in Co-operative Thinking and Practice<2.2 Robert Owen (1771-1858) and the Co-operative Ideal2.3 John Malcolm Forbes Ludlow (1821-1911) and Christian Socialism2.4 J. S. Mill (1806-1873) and Liberal Socialism2.5 J. T. W. Mitchell (1828-1895) and the Ascendency of Consumer Co-operation 3. Imperial Demands, Local Imperatives3.1 The Reticence of the Colonial Office3.2 Fundamental Elements: Migration3.3 Fundamental Elements: Land Alienation in the Settler Colonies3.4 Concluding Remarks 4. Charles Harper: A Life4.1 Colonial Elitism4.2 Harper's Earliest Years4.3 A Pioneering Bachelorhood4.4 Settling Down4.5 A Man of Business4.6 Politics4.7 The Changing Times4.8 Religious and Civic Contributions4.9 Dark Deeds in a Sunny Land4.10 A Life in Service 5. Bending Co-operation to the Western Australian Economic Problem5.1 Harper and Countervailing Power5.2 Co-operative-based Countervailing Power and Government Financial and Legislative Support5.3 Maintaining and Improving the Standard of Living5.4 Government Monopolies and Government Legislative Support for Industry5.5 Co-operatives Interposed Between Government and Agriculture5.6 The Many forms of Government Aid to Co-operative Enterprises5.7 Concluding Remarks 6. Australian Colonial Socialism in Word and Deed: The Socialisation of Economic Problems in Colonial Australia6.1 An Australian Form of Colonial Socialism6.2 7. A Step Too Far: Western Australian State Socialism (1918-1939)7.1 The Western Australian Economy: 1912-1930<7.2 Pragmatic Co-operation 7.3 Colonial Socialism7.4 Countervailing Power7.5 Conclusion