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"Australia is living up to its nickname of "the lucky country," with a new survey marking it as the happiest industrialized nation in the world based on criteria such as jobs, income and health," according to a May 22, 2012 news article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Australia Tops OECD's Better Life Index."

I thought that was interesting, given other recent articles that show migrants leaving in record numbers and that the high cost of living is driving consumer purchasing offshore.

My travels have taken me to Australia twice, and I enjoyed every minute of each visit, but I was struck by how fast those $1.00 and $2.00 coins melted through my fingers... I could truly relate to auld Mac's sentiments:

Charles Keene, from Punch, 5 December, 1868, p. 235

Text reads:

Peebles Body (to townsman who was supposed to be in London on a visit), "E-eh, Mac, Ye're sune hame again!"
Mac, "E-eh, it's just a ruinous place, that. Mun, A had na' been the-erre abune Twa Hoours when - Bang! - went saxpence!"

Now I know a lot of Aussies, and to a man, woman and child they're capital people. But they're all over the economic spectrum, and my experience is that if you're fortunate enough to have a well-paid job, and can live somewhere outside of a major metropolitan area, life is can be pretty good. But I can see that a lot of people are trying to make ends meet, and are more or less running at 100 kph up a down escalator that's doing 120. I know for a fact I could no more survive in Sydney than I could in Manhattan, unless I wanted to reduce my standard of living considerably.

The WSJ article makes passing reference to high cost of living, high rents, and an industrial exodus, but seems intent on making its point despite these factors. I chuckled when one testimonial came from an Italian who plans on staying because wages are better than in Italy, but his last job was working as a farmhand in Victoria State, and who "next plans to pitch his tent in the remote northern city of Darwin, a frontier in Australia's energy boom."

Despite the economic crisis here, and news items indicating that there is now a reverse flow of Mexican immigrants back over the border because times are getting tougher here, we're still getting many who are willing to risk life and limb to make it to this so-called "land of promise." I suspect that many of those who continue to migrate to Australia have had it far worse in their homelands, and this is one of the major factors driving up housing costs, as supply becomes more and more choked. In the end, it's all relative.

As for me, I'd happily live there if I could keep body and soul together. Except for the buggers who hand out speeding tickets in New South Wales and the annoying buzzing insects (oh, wait, sorry, no difference) I've never met an Aussie I didn't like.

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May. 22nd, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
The archaic English is pretty much mud to me, can you disambiguate it? :)

And yeah Ozzie's have a great image but tax rates are ludicrous and the Mommy May I government really takes the blush off the bloom for me :(

May. 23rd, 2012 08:24 am (UTC)
You're home early, aren't you Mac?

Yeah, it was a terrible place. I hadn't been there more than two hours and - Bang! - I had spent a quarter!
May. 23rd, 2012 10:08 am (UTC)
Mon! That's nae English but a Scots accent an' Aberdonian at that.

Sixpence in those days was a lot of money, a turrible amount.

I imagine ten shillings a week in the 1860's was a fair salary, 6d is a 20th of that. That would make the 6d be about £15 I suppose.

Lets say that tanner is worth about 30 bucks rather than a quarter.....and it would have contained silver back then, too.
May. 23rd, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
A company of Americans were touring Scotland and lost their way in the north. Presently they found themselves in the outskirts of a large city. Stopping the car they asked a boy the name of the town. "I'll tell ye if ye gie me saxpence," replied the youth. "Drive on!" said the American. "I guess this is Aberdeen."

Great analysis, by the way.
May. 23rd, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
The question is, which nations do you think are happier? This is not a great time for any, I figure.

Also note that "luck" is relative. You can get struck by lightning and call yourself lucky for surviving.
May. 24th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to be an Englishman.

I might have been a Rooshian, a Turk or Greek or Prooshian, or perhaps Eye-tal-i-an.
But in spite of all temptations
to belong to other nations
I'll remain an Englishman.

Still reckon our current govt are nothing to be proud of.


The Old Wolf

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