The Australian Economy: A View from the North

The Australian Economy: A View from the North

The Australian Economy: A View from the North

The Australian Economy: A View from the North

Excerpt

WHEN VIEWED from the vantage point of an industrial country in the Northern Hemisphere, the Commonwealth of Australia appears to be a familiar country, but one that has three very distinctive physical characteristics: it has a small population for such a large land mass, it is located at a distance from its trading partners, and it is rich in natural resources. At different times these characteristics have been important in shaping Australian concerns and images of themselves. The first characteristic, low population, has been seen as both a societal and a security problem--"populate or perish" was a commonly heard phrase. This led Australia to encourage immigration; it was one reason put forth to defend protectionism based on the correct analytical point that by inhibiting the importation of labor-intensive goods, Australia would encourage the inflow of factors of production that would otherwise have been embodied in those goods. Second, Australia has long suffered from the "tyranny of distance," particularly when the society and economy were oriented toward Europe, a journey of several months by ship. This has added to the sense of isolation brought about by the insularity of the country. The third characteristic is a plus--Australia is extremely well endowed with minerals and pastoral land in relation to its population. Another favorable feature is that the climate varies from mild to tropical, so that the outdoor life style is predominant. This has led Australians to . . .

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