Exorbitant Australis

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I am sitting in what the Americans would call a motel 6 but this being Australia I am paying much, much more than $6 for the privilege. I just moved from the sofa bed, which in fairness is about as comfortable as any sofa bed, to one of the spare children’s singles, whose hard tack and almost exposed springs should be close to being a contravention of whatever United Nations agreement was signed as a meaningless, symbolic protection of the rights of the child.

The one redeeming feature of the place is one of those wide angle cricket shots made famous in the early 1990s. It is art of the highest order. A picture at dusk of a World Series Cricket game as the sun sets over the SCG’s Member’s pavilion and Ladies’ stands.

I remember when these investments were going to be “collector’s” items. My brother filled his whole bedroom with them using his very first paychecks as a future nest egg. At one stage a picture of Australia finally winning the Frank Worrell Trophy in the West Indies could cost you over $1000 but then people realised that reprints of digital photos had a marginal cost of around about zero and channel nine realised that it was best to just keep churning out as much memorabilia as possible until Tony Greig became the drinks break equivalent of Big Kev.

$170 a night for this! I’d love to support homegrown tourism but I can understand why more and more are choosing Fiji over Forster. From all reports property in tourism spots has slumped since the GFC. Does it worry other highly mortgaged property owners that where Australians have a choice (where they holiday) we choose overseas property to local but where we have relatively no choice (where we work) property prices are holding up?

Of course in the long run all factors are mobile. Could it be that the Town of 1770 is the canary in the coalmine?

It seems to me that our higher and higher living costs (property, power and paychecks) make us massively uncompetitive. One day the world will decide not to pay us so much for rocks then will come the massive adjustment to reality. Either that will come through a sharp reduction in the dollar or a sharp reduction in prices in product markets (wages, property, etc). Either way our standard of living will take a huge hit and I don’t think we are prepared for that.

One comment

  1. it happened in the 1980s. See Banana republic statement by one P Keating.

    however to happen now it would mean China and India go backwards for a considerable period of time.


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