Australian Left Review

Article Title

Review: Working Comparisons


James Levy


Australia and Argentina. On Parallel Paths, by Tim Duncan and John Fogarty, deserves a very careful read. If what follows here does not agree with all the authors say in their book, it should not deflect us from an open and direct confrontation with the major issue and the many subsidiary and provocative points they raise. Is Australia presently on an economic course which will some day yield economic stagnation like that in Argentina? Some would argue that the question itself is invalid. The problem of establishing what should and what should not be compared makes comparative history a difficult exercise. Duncan and Fogarty believe, however, that it is a rewarding approach, and that careful scholarship and commonsense can avoid serious errors. "When they work, comparisons can provide not only imaginative breakthroughs that pose new historical questions, but also a framework for the empirical investigation of those questions." (p. xii). I agree