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an Australians Veiw of Australia

an Australians Veiw of Australia

Old Sep 19th 2002, 12:58 am
  #1  
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Default an Australians Veiw of Australia

From Whinging Aussie .


GREED for greed's sake and I'm all right today Jack, let tomorrow and the next generation take care of themselves, will see future generations condemn us.

We are selling (or is it giving away?) our non-renewable resources at an ever-increasing rate. We are rejoicing at a $23 billion contract to sell a big lump of our gas deposit for, by many yardsticks, a pittance.

Here we are, after some 35 years of mining iron ore in this State, still shipping it with some 40 per cent rock. We learn that the mere removal of the useless rock, as in the relatively simple principle that is intended in the Port Hedland plant, would return us some five times the money as against shipping the raw ore, yet we continue to bury our heads in the sand and let the multinational companies rape us at an ever-increasing rate and express our gratitude for what they are doing to us.

I am not, I believe, an irresponsible stirrer, greenie or whatever name many are branded for attempting to point out what is happening to our resources and to our country. I merely hope to draw the attention of some of our citizens to what is happening to us and what we are imposing on our descendants.

You will often hear that our labour force is too expensive, that we don't have the capital and all kinds of poppycock excuses. Japan, one of our biggest trading nations, not only has to import our iron ore with 40 per cent rock, but also the energy to fire it up, which also comes from Australia.

Its workforce is generally paid above the rates of ours, so why aren't we smelting the steel here or at least applying some value-adding, such as pelletizing, as in the Port Headland idea? What are our descendants going to live on when we have frittered away all our non-renewable resources?

If during these years of plentiful resources we have slipped from being near the top of the standard of living scale and our real unemployment rate is 12 to 15 per cent, just imagine what our great-grandchildren are going to experience when our finite resources are all gone.

I recently watched a documentary on how Argentina had slipped from being one of the highest standard of living countries in the world to bankruptcy and I can see Australia following in its footsteps.

Doesn't matter. It won't affect me.


Last edited by pommie bastard; Sep 19th 2002 at 1:31 am.
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Old Sep 20th 2002, 11:00 pm
  #2  
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Default Re: an Australians Veiw of Australia

    >I recently watched a documentary on how Argentina had slipped from being
    >one of the highest standard of living countries in the world to
    >bankruptcy and I can see Australia following in its footsteps.

Argentina is an interesting comparison to Australia. They are very similar in
some ways. Both are settler economies (rely on immigration to drive growth in
their populations), they export similar products, and they have similar
markets. Historically, why has Argentina struggled while Australia prospered?

Argentina was much more vulnerable to the global economy. They had a huge level
of foreign investment, for one thing, which is a very risky position to be in:
when the world capital market dries up, so does Argentina, and it's made worse
by the fact that they have to continue servicing the debt on foreign loans,
etc. Australia has been fairly closed as an economy and is nowhere near as
vulnerable as Argentina.

(Argentina's problems weren't due to depletion of mineral resources, as you
suggest by your comparison).

Australia's three main revenue sources are agricultural products, minerals,
and....... international students. The latter seems a bigger problem than the
potential depletion of mineral deposits. That's a generational thing, after
all: Australia is riding the wave of the second baby boom by offering education
to Asians and others. Who knows what will happens after the glut has moved
through the system.

You suggest that Australia needs to move into manufacturing or technology, or
otherwise diversify out of primary industries like minerals extraction. That's
the goal, but it can't happen without (a) an adequate population, which doesn't
currently exist, and (b) some kind of comparative market advantage in the new
industries that would enable it to trade those goods and services globally.
Labor is not cheap here, so manufactured goods are more expensive than those
made in other countries where labor is cheaper. No point in diversifying if you
can't sell the new products you're making.

Australia's best bet going forward is probably technology, but there needs to
be a population of about 30 million before there's a base of talent and
investment capital available to sustain technology development. So they need
more people right away if they are to diversify out of primary industries.
Where are these people going to come from?

So they're competing with other countries to bring in skilled immigrants and
yet they risk lowering per capita GDP in the short term due to greater
competition for jobs. Aussies don't want this. They want higher per capita GDP
(income). They don't want immigrants "stealing" jobs from them. And yet
Australia has been different throughout its history by placing population
growth ahead of income growth as the goal of its economy.

There are other measures of economic well-being as a nation that are more
important in Australia's case than GDP. Population growth is essential to
developing a diverse economy. And yet population growth creates its own set of
problems: a drain on natural resources, demand for limited water, further
development in already crowded cities, etc.

It's not a straightforward issue at all. It involves numerous trade-offs and in
the course of making those trade-offs no one is ever left satisfied that things
are happening as they should.
 

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