Australia – The “lucky” country

4 05 2009

A popular phrase amongst Australians.  But why?

Personally if I had done a good job and someone dismissed it as “lucky” I’d be offended. 

I thought of this expression the other day because I was wondering why someone would be happy to be called lucky.  Probably only if they believed it to be true. 

So my conclusion:  Australians generally have no idea how they gained their relative prosperity compared to other nations.  Historically Australians have enjoyed more freedom including more economic freedom than many countries.  Individuals were able to develop large businesses in Australia that have benefitted all of us. 
Australian politics copied the UK system originally and in modern times, US systems – both political systems that historically were far superior than dictatorships, religious rule, communism etc. 

Interestingly, this expression was originally meant ironically:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Country

“Horne’s statement was actually made irnoically as an indictment of 1960s Australia. His intent was to comment that, while other industralised nations created wealth using “clever” means such as technology and other innovations, Australia did not. Rather, Australia’s economic prosperity was largely derived from its rich natural resources. Horne observed that Australia “showed less enterprise than almost any other prosperous industrial society.””

What’s ironic to me, is that I agree with Horne’s original irony intention, but not for the same reason as him. 

Horne doesn’t seem to recognise that primary industries (like any sucessful business) require much productive work and creativity.  There are scores of countries with large levels of resources and terrible standards of living: Nigeria, Venezuala, ex-Soviet countries – a few off the top of my head. 
Is it then ironic that Horne also doesn’t realise the source of Australia’s prosperity? 

Australians have enjoyed prosperity but they often have no idea how this was achieved. – Literally NO idea. 

That’s certainly not anyway to stay “lucky”.

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