Australians Have ‘Star’ Economy But Are They Happier?
|May 1, 2014||Posted by Catherine Cashmore under Editorials|
This 2014 excerpt of Australia’s Property Observer, Mar 2, is by Catherine Cashmore.
Resilient wage inflation was duly capitalised into rising property prices, by way of a dramatic and accelerated run up of household debt. From this alone, Australia’s economic platform is deserving of the title “the world’s ‘star performer’.” However, whilst we may stand out in the wealth stakes, we’re not a happier nation for it.
Like every other Western nation, Australia has experienced a sharp rise in the number of people suffering depressive illness over the last decade, with the average onset of the disease moving downwards in terms of age, since the 1990’s.
Australia has its highest unemployment rate since 2003, along with an increase in those registering as “long term” unemployed, up 13.5% since January 2013, and more part time jobs being created than full time.
Wage growth is at its lowest level on record – climbing just below the rate of inflation for the last calendar year – whilst the cost for ‘essentials’ such as health, childcare, utility services, and petrol, in some areas, has reached record highs.
People are working longer, retiring later.
Australia’s biggest employer – aged related care (the health and social Assistance industries) – derives a large percentage of its funding from people selling their housing, which their children additionally hope to inherit to assist their own journey onto the ‘ladder’.
It took forty years from 1950 to 1990 for housing prices to double, but only fifteen years between 1996 and 2010 to double again.
From the time a child learns to enjoy a family game of ‘Monopoly,’ Australians are nurtured on a system that teaches the key to building wealth, is through the leverage of ‘capital growth’ in land values, therefore, none of this is easy to change.
To do so, requires complete structural reform of land value taxation and housing supply policy.