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The Human Economy
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Exchange and Markets in Early Economic Development
Informal Economy in the Three New Guineas
John D. Conroy
296 pages, 7 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-80073-968-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (May 2023)
eISBN 978-1-80073-969-7 eBook
“It is a sound piece of scholarship, directed at an interesting question with important policy implications, which ranges over a broad field of largely historical data and relevant literature. It is well written and makes a significant contribution to the literature of Papua New Guinea and to that of comparative development economics.” • Ronald May, The Australian National University
The idea of an informal economy emerged from, and is a critique of, the ideology of ‘economic development’. It originated from Keith Hart’s recognition of informal economic activity in 1960s Ghana. In the context of four colonialisms – German, British, Australian and Dutch – this book recounts Hart’s effort in 1972 to introduce the informal ‘sector’ into development planning in Papua New Guinea. This was problematic, because ‘the market’ was scarcely institutionalized, and traditional modes of exchange persisted stubbornly. Rather than conforming with post-colonial economic ideology, the subjected people pushed back against imposed bureaucracy to practice informal and hybrid modes of economic activity.
John D. Conroy has been an economist and student of 'development' since 1968. He has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia for lengthy periods and has also had field experience in South and East Asia, and in some of the small Pacific island nations. He is a visiting scholar at the Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.
Subject: Political and Economic AnthropologyDevelopment StudiesColonial History
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