Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The lucky country under threat

Australia is a wonderful place for people who have saved enough for retirement, and at the age when their children are old enough to be independent. Young people do not have it so good; like anyone else in any developed country they have to work hard and save hard. An established older person, say in his 50's, would have paid off his mortgages by this time, seen his children through child care and school, and basically only needs to work for his everyday expenses. This he can do by working part time. He can even build enough savings to travel a few times a year. As for health care, Australia has a free health care system for everyone. Indeed this is a lucky country.

However, this may not last forever. When people are left to wallow in comfort they tend to get complacent. Complacency allows threats to creep in. Big corporations start to dictate what the government should do. Australia is becoming a country of big corporations for retail, banking, energy, telecommunications, etc. A country run along corporate lines is only interested in profit and loss, or budget surplus and deficit. It does not put the people's interest ahead of Big Corporation's interest because it reasons that if Big Corporation is happy then people have jobs. And if people have jobs, they have nothing to complain about. Elected government's KPI (Key Performance Index) is winning votes, while Big Corporation's KPI is making more money each year. How else can you explain that even in a recession the local government sees it fit to increase council rates by 10%? Why does the government allow the utility companies to hike up water, electricity, and gas rates at this time? As I see it, the standard of living will come under increasing pressure, beginning with young adults who are just starting out.

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