As Australia faces the global virus of xenophobia, the country’s early history provides a warning of the social and economic costs of isolation.
Australia was one of the richest settlements on earth when it was a British colony with open borders in the 19th century. But it retreated when it became an independent nation in 1901, and it endured almost half a century of economic stagnation before it opened its doors again to mass immigration after World War II.
The leaders of the main political parties continue to support an expansive immigration program and profess to abhor racism. But this cherished bipartisanship is in danger of fracturing.… Seguir leyendo »
The political fault lines are familiar to any democracy. At election time, the people divide according to location. Those living in coastal cities tend to vote center-left; those in the hinterland are likely to vote conservative. The pattern repeats by age, education and ethnicity. The university graduate and the migrant lean center-left; the retiree and the local-born lean conservative.
The twist in Australia is that these social and economic forces are shaking out in favor of the Labor Party, not the conservative Liberal Party. Australia is decidedly more urbanized and more cosmopolitan than the United States, Britain or continental Europe. This essential difference in cultural makeup has allowed Australia to resist the wealthy world’s lurch to the populist right.… Seguir leyendo »
If you were designing a nation from scratch, it would look something like Australia. A Eurasian people, boring politicians, and an economy that virtually runs itself.
Australia, uniquely, has avoided every major shock of modern globalization. Its economy mostly kept growing through the Asian financial crisis in the late-1990s, the tech crash at the turn of the millennium and the global financial crisis of 2008.
While other wealthy nations struggle to define their purpose, Australia has unlocked the secret to its next wave of prosperity. The key is the very thing that intimidates the United States, Britain and most of Europe: large-scale immigration.… Seguir leyendo »