Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Australian people

Australia is one of the most attractive places to live - and Australians know it. Sadly its not everything to those people that know better. The problem is - it lacks people and thus lacks variety, and suffers from entrenched parochial values. This makes it a less interesting country for intellectuals like myself. There is a disparity in values between those that identify with the `outside` world and those that are intolerant of it. These relationships mean that some Australians have a deep interest and understanding of the outside world, and others no interest or relationship whatsoever. These parochial souls holiday on the Central Coast, maybe New Zealand and Bali.

In addition, it lacks the sophistication of larger markets like the US and Japan. In terms of intellectual discourse, the US is far richer. In Japan particularly, the large consumer base and government support for leading lead developments mean they apply technology. In contrast, the lack of population in Australia undermines prospects to apply technology, and it lacks financial support. Australian engineers and scientists are unloved and under-appreciated. Because there is no market for their services outside the construction of road, bridges and offshore oil platforms. Very little is exciting, cutting edge innovation. Australians are scratching themselves to be relevant by some standard of efficacy. We have a world-class mining industry, but thats not something Australians can relate to. We have great beaches and kangaroos, but there is no pride of achievement in that fact. We own Russel Crowe and Nicol Kidman, but they had to leave the country to achieve their success. For a fortunate few however, they have no social standards of value, and care little about such comparisons, preferring instead to live by their own standards of value, by their own judgement, rather than subjugating themselves to the standards of others. But that`s the few. But Australians have a fairly healthy self-esteem compared to their Asian neighbours. They have grown up in a relatively free country, so have a greater sense of personal identity. Again it depends on the person.

The pleasantness of the Australian landscape is measured in terms of the space, green landscape since it was tamed by early settlers, and the mild, dry climate, as well as world-class beaches. It was a continent conceived for recreation. Sadly it lacks the population to provide ready access to those treasures. Its neverthless culminated in Australians living an outdoor lifestyle.

As a consequence Australians are very relaxed. A great deal of them leaving a balanced life. Part of the country`s good fortune stems from the mineral wealth of the country. Even when global demand for minerals is slack, prices in $A terms remain high, helping to support their lifestyle. This all contributes to the sleepiness of the country. Despite this safety, Australians have the capacity to rise to any challenge in a crisis - just they are never tested. Those export revenues never fail, and being isolated from global conflicts, we are never really challenged. Terrorism remains someone elses bad dream.

Apart from that Australians vary a great deal, reflecting differing values and origins, remembering that Australia has a large population of immigrants, many of whom were born overseas. Unlike the US, these varied interests are not yet well-organised, unlike their US counterparts because of the small population. The exceptions are those ethic groups which have established politically active community support networks. The only traditional groups are Rotary, Freemasons, the various churches, etc.

There is a disparity in values and lifestyles between the rich and poor. Move around the prosperous districts and you`ll not see a better lot of people, generous and balanced. Move to another area and they are suspicious and safe.

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