Decolonisation and Ideology: Preconditions for Urbanism in Late Colonial Port Moresby

41 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2015

See all articles by John D. Conroy

John D. Conroy

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: July 30, 2015

Abstract

Hart's informality occurs in market economies when people are unable or unwilling to conform with the guiding orthodoxy of the State. In Papua New Guinea (PNG) after the second world war an ideology of 'economic development' was adopted by the colonial State. Bureaucratic norms established to support Australian colonial notions of 'development' were confronted by transgressive (that is, informal) behaviour on the part of indigenous people. Such behaviour included unauthorized migration to Port Moresby, squatting on urban land and unauthorized home-building, all of which substantially altered the physical fabric and social character of the capital. The paper describes how Port Moresby gradually moved towards a more stable and committed urban workforce supporting a 'normalized' population structure, although this process was still incomplete by self-government in 1973. By then, however, Port Moresby had progressed a long way from being an Australian colonial town towards assuming the status and characteristics of a Third World city, with increasing 'space' for informal economic activities. Late colonial PNG is shown as having been an obsolescent society and economy, a condition originating in the nexus between retarded urbanism, archaic processes of wage determination and low labour productivity -- a Gordian knot for policy-makers.

Keywords: decolonization, economic development, labour policy, wages, internal migration, urbanization, squatter settlements, housing policy, informal economy, Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, Keith Hart, Peter Fitzpatrick, Charles Rowley, Nigel Oram

JEL Classification: E26, F54, J20, J38, J48, J61, N37, N97, O17, R23

Suggested Citation

Conroy, John David, Decolonisation and Ideology: Preconditions for Urbanism in Late Colonial Port Moresby (July 30, 2015). Crawford School Research Paper No. 15-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2638176 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2638176

John David Conroy (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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