Yesterday I read that Australia is the happiest country in the OECD, thanks to being quite a long way from Europe and its financial woes, somewhat closer to China, which consumes much of the Lucky Country’s booming mineral production, and having nearly full employment, which has a lot to do with mining and China. There are other factors too. An interesting one is that Australian men, believe it or not, spend nearly three hours every day cooking, cleaning or caring—one of the highest scores across the OECD's 34 member countries and ahead of men in the U.S., Germany and Canada.
But the most important reason of all -- scandalously overlooked in the OECD Better Life survey -- is all the New Zealanders living in Oz, more than 600,000 of us. And they like us so much over there that they’ve been over here the past week or so recruiting more of our workers to dig up iron ore etc. I shouldn’t repeat this, but a former Prime Minister once said that the Kiwis who went to Australia raised the IQ on both sides of the Tasman. Sorry, sorry, it’s not true. I lived over there myself for a few years, so it can’t be. I mean it can't be true that it lowered the IQ in NZ... Oh, never mind. Take-home message: Kiwis and Aussies are absolutely best friends; we just have a funny way of showing it sometimes.
George Friedman has an interesting analysis of Australia this week. This is one of the things he says: Think of Australia as a creature whose primary circulatory system is outside of its body. Such a creature would be extraordinarily vulnerable and would have to develop unique defense mechanisms. This challenge has guided Australian strategy. Sounds weird but makes a lot of sense if you read the article.
Also today: Stephen Heaney, an American philosophy professor, conducts an intriguing “thought experiment” that is very helpful in explaining why same-sex “marriage” doesn’t make sense. Michael Cook asks some pertinent questions about using high-risk technology to save the environment. And Margaret Somerville finds the sacred unexpectedly bubbling up through the Canadian press.
Sheila Liaugminas is away for a break in the mountains but if you are not yet aware of the Catholic Church’s big lawsuit against the Obama administration, check her blog. On Conjugality Michael Kirke notes that David Cameron may have to allow a conscience vote on the definition of marriage. A post on Tiger Print, “The norm of cohabitation”, has drawn a lot of interest. On Demography, Marcus Roberts writes about a wonderful programme in India that is making a real difference to women’s lives. And on Reading Matters Jennifer Minicus reminds us of a classic children’s book set in the Middle Ages -- the sort of thing I just loved as a youngster.