Australia: Out of the Cocoon

The eleven-story building of the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd., in downtown Melbourne, is stark and cheerless, almost down at the heels, by U.S. corporate standards. And its tenant is fusty and taciturn. But . B.H.P., as the 77-year-old steelmaker is known Down Under, has paced— and made possible—the galloping growth of Australian industry since World War II. In the process, it has become a sort of Australian version of A.T. & T., refuting the old dictum that basic industry in a democracy cannot be entrusted to a monopoly.

B.H.P. today produces virtually 100% of...

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