Unless you have been living under a rock for the past six years or so, you have probably noticed that things have gotten pretty bad economically in countries like America and much of Europe. While these countries are, culturally, fairly similar to us here in Australia, economically we seem to have been subjected to very different fates over the past few years. While there have been problems with debt and unemployment across the Northern hemisphere, Australia has actually been thriving, and Australian people have been benefitting from a period of financial security by and large. This has made Australian businesses a much more attractive prospect to work with for people from all around the world, and this has, in turn, only helped the period of prosperity to get even better. So just why is it that we have had it so much better than our English speaking counterparts in the US and the UK these past few years?
Location, Location, Location
While years ago we might have scoffed at the idea that Australia’s proximity to anywhere might put us in a strong position business wise, the tables have turned. As Asia becomes far more dominant on the world stage, the fact that we can deal with countries like China and Japan more easily than businesses in the USA and Europe can has worked very strongly in our favour. Equally, however, the fact that we are far from most other countries and are able to work well with our only real neighbour, New Zealand, means that we rely a lot on services and businesses that are provided locally.
Small businesses are the largest employers in Australia, and this works because we have a need for them. The fact that we have a small population spread over a wide area means people really do depend on local companies for their everyday needs or to support their own business enterprises, and this in turn means we can create opportunities for employees to work in all kinds of fields within small and medium sized companies, rather than relying on big business for employment. Our government is one of the most supportive in the world in terms of starting a small business, and this also encourages entrepreneurship and allows people to create new jobs.
As well as having a good model for success in both the import and export world and the small business arena, Australia is also fortunate in that it is rich in natural resources. A lot of the money coming into our economy in recent years has been from mining, and this has also created many jobs in things like oilfields carrying out important tasks like de watering. This mining boom in the past few years has pumped a lot of cash back into our economy and given us the ability to create lucrative and sustainable work for a lot of people.
While there are a lot of social and political reasons why Australia is doing so well right now, it is key to remember that everything that happens in an economy is somewhat down to luck, and the results of things that happened decades before. We should therefore simply enjoy this period of prosperity and be glad that we aren’t facing problems like the American fiscal cliff!