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Making things in a high-dollar Australia: the case of the surfboard industry

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • In August 2011 the announcement by Bluescope Steel of mass layoffs at

    its Port Kembla steelworks, in the Illawarra region, sparked renewed

    public debate and media commentary on the future of manufacturing in

    Australia. The debate has since spread to cars, aluminium smelting –

    even Mortein fly spray – and has quickly coalesced around the

    unprecedented high Australian dollar, its impacts on exports, and the

    prospects of the production of goods shifting overseas. As Australian

    mining magnates such as Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Twiggy

    Forrest attempt to remould Australia around their ‘quarry vision’ (Pearse,

    2009) of extractive minerals exports, a high value Australian dollar puts

    at risk any industries where import substitution is possible: tourism,

    education, retail (doubly threatened by the rise of e-commerce), and the

    manufacturing sector.

    In this article we seek to provide a fresh perspective to the debate on

    Australian manufacturing by focusing instead on the internal dynamics

    of industries and regions – where a political economic analysis reveals

    important insights.

    Our case study is the Australian surfboard-making industry. By focusing

    on internal as well as external dynamics, we illuminate the problems with

    orthodox approaches to comparative advantage, and suggest critical

    factors beyond the high dollar that need to be addressed if this iconic

    form of manufacturing is to remain viable in Australia.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Warren, A. T. & Gibson, C. (2013). Making things in a high-dollar Australia: the case of the surfboard industry. Journal of Australian Political Economy, 71 (Winter), 26-50.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84878718741

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1951&context=smhpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/936

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 24

Start Page


  • 26

End Page


  • 50

Volume


  • 71

Issue


  • Winter

Abstract


  • In August 2011 the announcement by Bluescope Steel of mass layoffs at

    its Port Kembla steelworks, in the Illawarra region, sparked renewed

    public debate and media commentary on the future of manufacturing in

    Australia. The debate has since spread to cars, aluminium smelting –

    even Mortein fly spray – and has quickly coalesced around the

    unprecedented high Australian dollar, its impacts on exports, and the

    prospects of the production of goods shifting overseas. As Australian

    mining magnates such as Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Twiggy

    Forrest attempt to remould Australia around their ‘quarry vision’ (Pearse,

    2009) of extractive minerals exports, a high value Australian dollar puts

    at risk any industries where import substitution is possible: tourism,

    education, retail (doubly threatened by the rise of e-commerce), and the

    manufacturing sector.

    In this article we seek to provide a fresh perspective to the debate on

    Australian manufacturing by focusing instead on the internal dynamics

    of industries and regions – where a political economic analysis reveals

    important insights.

    Our case study is the Australian surfboard-making industry. By focusing

    on internal as well as external dynamics, we illuminate the problems with

    orthodox approaches to comparative advantage, and suggest critical

    factors beyond the high dollar that need to be addressed if this iconic

    form of manufacturing is to remain viable in Australia.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Warren, A. T. & Gibson, C. (2013). Making things in a high-dollar Australia: the case of the surfboard industry. Journal of Australian Political Economy, 71 (Winter), 26-50.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84878718741

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1951&context=smhpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/936

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 24

Start Page


  • 26

End Page


  • 50

Volume


  • 71

Issue


  • Winter