I don’t imagine we’ll be running Best Blog Posts this year. Certainly I won’t have time to be involved.
Moreover, we never actually anointed an annual winner in any event, just an undifferentiated group of 30 or 40 of the best from the non-MSM blogosphere.
However, if I WAS selecting a single best blog post for 2011, I wouldn’t have even a moment’s hesitation. It would be Australian Exceptionalism by Scott “Possum Comitatus” Steel published this afternoon on Crikey. I had to stop myself from running into the street and shouting “YES!!! EXACTLY!!! WHY COULDN’T I CRYSTALLISE IT ALL SO POWERFULLY? WHY CAN’T JULIA OR (GOD FORBID) KEV?” It’s worth reproducing a substantial extract over the fold but do yourself a favour and read the whole thing. Moreover, although it’s a paean to Australia’s general excellence, all governments since Hawke/Keating and the Australian people generally are entitled to the credit:
So this is our economic reality – we are the wealthiest nation in the world with 75.5% of our adult population making it into the global top 10%, our economy has grown faster than nearly all others (certainly faster than all other developed countries), our household income growth has been one of the fastest in the world (including our poor having income growth larger than everyone else’s rich!), we have the highest minimum wages in the world, the third lowest debt and the 6th lowest taxes in the OECD and are ranked 2nd on the United Nations Human Development Index.
And this didn’t happen by accident.
This happened by design.
This happened because of 30 years of hard, tedious, extraordinarily difficult policy work that far, far too many of us now either take completely for granted, or have simply forgotten about. We have, without even realising it, created the most successful and unique economic and policy arrangement of the late 20th and early 21st century – the proof is in the pudding. A low tax nation with high quality, public funded institutions. A low debt nation with world leading human development and infrastructure. The wealthiest nation in the world where even though our rich get richer, our poor have income growth so extraordinary that it increases at a faster rate than the rich expect to experience anywhere else in the world but Australia. A nation where we enjoy the highest minimum wages in the world.
But so many of us simply deny it – the conservatives deny it because it’s more convenient to whip up hysteria about their political enemies. Filling the heads of Australians with complete lies for partisan advantage and not giving a pinch of the proverbial about the human damage that would be wrought if they ever succeeded in getting us to talk ourselves into a recession of our own making . That’s not to mention many of their ideologues – denial is an absolute must when any acknowledgement of our actual economic and social reality would be to admit that their extreme policy fetishes are just pissing in the wind.
The broad left in Australia deny it, because to admit our economic and social reality is to admit that we’ve actually solved most of the big problems that other nations are still grappling with, and they had little to do with it. The problems we have left in Australia are difficult and sophisticated, requiring a level of thoughtful engagement far beyond the scope of occupying Fuck Knows Where in tents. If the US government responded to the Occupy Wall Street movement by implementing a large policy program that Australia already has – Occupy Wall Street would declare victory and go to the pub!