OK, so I have lived in Australia for thirty-odd years, and the grass is always greener on the other side.
But consider these points:
- Railways crossed the U.S.A. in the 1860s.
Queensland Rail has been ripping rails up due to disuse.
- The American dollar is strong beyond all common sense.
The Australian dollar drops in value in response to any bad news from anywhere in the world.
- Australian I.T. workers go to Sydney or to the U.S.
Most Australian states export I.T. degrees.
However, the quality of Australian I.T. as good as anywhere in the world.
- Most Australians can tell you more American history than Australian history.
- Immigrants flooded to the U.S. in the 19th century, and settled on every single bit of it.
Immigrants flooded to Australia in the 20th century, and settled in Sydney and Melbourne.
There's a song about being stuck in Lido, Calfornia.
There's a song where Bobby drifts away somewhere near Salinas, California.
Country and western songs probably name every major town in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
There's even a song about Morenci and Clifton, Arizona.
Where are the great songs about Toowoomba QLD, Geelong VIC, Bendigo NSW and Albany WA?
I can't even name any provincial towns in South Australia!
When I was in Arizona I was talking to a miner in a company town.
Because the company owns the house he rents, and they own the whole town, when he retires he will be forced
to leave town.
I told him that was dreadful, in Australia the company would NEVER be allowed to kick old people out of their
His reply was "Aw heck, it'll be great, I can go ANYWHERE!".
I don't think there any near-retirees in Australia who anything like as optimistic.
Consider the problem of places to go.
If you fly into Cairns QLD, and want to travel around the country, you will go to Townsville,
Bowen, Rockhampton, Childers, Maryborough, Gympie, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Ballina,
Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, in that order.
Technically, there are other places to go, but you wouldn't.
In the U.S.A., if by some mistake you get to Casper Wyoming, you will be torn between going to Yellowstone,
Mt Rushmore, Denver, or Sturgis (if you're into that).
There are so many places to go to.
I believe this is why rail travel in Australia is so unpopular - because there is nowhere to go but along the coast.
If you go inland, you take the same route to go back again.
(One exception, the route overland from Adelaide to Alice Springs to Darwin.)
No Australian wants to sit on a train for 12 hours to get to the next place worth seeing.
Now, the Australian economy.
If the U.S. dollar drops, so does the Aussie.
If the Euro drops, so does the Aussie.
If the bloody Estonian escudo or the Easter Island Big Round Rock with a Hole In drops, so does the Aussie.
Apparently, Australia is the least financially independent country on the planet.
Oops, the Kazakhstani kopeck is on the way down...
This has something to do with the lack of the free enterprise spirit in Australia.
And that has something to do with the lack of success of free enterprise in Australia.
And that has something to do with the high level of cynicism in Australia.
I can't explain the relationships between them, but I think it is related to the optimism thing again.
OK, so American and Australian history.
Let's consider the case of slavery.
Everyone knows the U.S. fought a civil war over slavery, and that the slaves worked on the cotton plantations
in Mississippi and Georgia and places like that.
Some people know Australia had effective slaves called the kanakas, to cut sugar cane.
Not many people know where the kanakas worked, but it was places like Brisbane, which I think would shock
The kanakas had the sense to go back home again after they were released!
Finally, about the I.T. industry.
Even for Australians, the place to be is Silicon Valley.
I have a theory that the success of Silicon Valley is due to an entrepreneurial spirit that has lived in
California since the gold rush days, after all venture capital and claim-staking are not that different
I believe that such an environment is not likely in Australia due to the ascendance of cynicism over
In general, I believe in Australia.
We have a beautiful country, decent government, and educated people.
However we do lack the optimism and fire of the U.S.A.
I don't know how to resolve Australia's problems, but I think it is possible.
She'll be right, mate.