06/11/2018

Dinkum income

Country profile: Australia

THE LAST time Australia suffered a recession, the Soviet Union still existed and the worldwide web did not. An American-led force had just liberated Kuwait, and almost half the world’s current population had not yet been born. Unlike most of its region, Australia was left unscathed by the Asian crash of 1997. Unlike most of the developed world, it shrugged off the global financial crisis, and unlike most commodity-exporting countries, it weathered the resources bust, too. No other rich country has ever managed to grow so steadily for so long. By that measure, at least, Australia boasts the world’s most successful economy.

By other measures, Australia’s economic performance is more remarkable still. Whereas many other rich countries have seen wages stagnate for decades, Australia’s have grown strongly, albeit less steadily in recent years. In other words, a problem that has agitated policymakers—and voters—around the world, and has been blamed for all manner of political upheaval, from European populism to the election of Donald Trump, scarcely exists in Australia.

For more on Australia, see our special report.