This is my third visit to Australia in the last 12 months. Aussie friends accuse me, tongue in cheek, of having an undeclared fondness for their country on account of my frequent visits to a country such a long way away for me to get to, which may or may not be true. This time a few of them even suggested it might be time to move Down Under after Trump’s election.
Australia is indeed a long way away from Virginia, but the effort to come here is always worthwhile. Not just because the country really has all the qualities extolled in a relatively honest tourist brochure.
Australia’s political conjuncture is fascinating for me because it is poised in front of thresholds the US and UK crossed decades ago. The country has thus far survived the neoliberal onslaught better than its two anglophone counterparts.
Australia has not had a recession for 25 years. As the Washington Post put it (September 15, 2016): “The last time Australia had a recession, the Clintons had never run for president, Donald Trump had never had a business go bankrupt, and the Soviet Union was still a country”.
An American or Brit can only scratch their head at such macroeconomic competence or good fortune (or both). In the period 1990-2015, average Australian GDP growth was 3.3%, whereas in the same period the US only had 8 years, and the UK 5 years, in which their GDPs matched or exceeded the Australian average.
A primary reason for Australia’s relative success has been a booming…