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Things are crook

By Stephen Matchett - posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Stone the Crows! Things are crook.

What with the way we are just sooo stressed! Not to mention that working families are going broke due to the high cost of everything.

It is astonishing how Australians find things to whinge about. Certainly the ill, indigent and unlucky do it unjustly tough. But for the generality of us it is hard to imagine anywhere this side of paradise better to be.


And if you don't believe the Crows, take a look at the Better Life Index, produced by the Panglosses at the OECD. On just about every quality measure (education and the environment, health and housing, income and governance and so on) Australia is ahead of the OECD averages.

And when it comes to life satisfaction, 75 per cent of people think things are okay.

Which all sounds good. But it's not. We are only eleventh on this rating, well behind Iceland, for example, where people apparently are content to be cold and broke.

So what's going on? Here's a hint:

Sometimes coaxing the public to your point of view reaches an immovable barrier. Sometimes people must be jolted out of their complacency by militancy, even if that means a period of rancour, turmoil and danger.

That's Clive Hamilton on the need to convince people on the imminent dangers of global warming. He used to get upset about the way conspicuous consumption made ordinary Australians unhappy, even if they did not know it:


Af-flu-en-za (n). 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the Australian dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.

Of course, Hamilton had to stop when we started saving at a rate not seen for 30 years. Not because, as he expected, middle class Australia would be overwhelmed by the GFC, but because prudent people in work decided to repair their family balance sheets.

But never mind. When there is nothing specific to scare us, critics will just tell us how stressed we are by over-work.

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This article was first published at Stone the Crows on September 5, 2011.

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About the Author

Stephen Matchett blogs at Stone the Crows.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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