Monday, May 20, 2013

Aussie & Kiwi Chronicles - Part 5

Can High Cost Countries Afford Bad Management?

By Pascal Dennis

In my earlier blogs I wrote about my misadventures with Qantas.

A major national airline, indifferent to its customers, wracked by poisonous labor relations, the butt of cynical jokes at home.

Which raises another question:

Can Australia, a high-cost country overly dependent on mineral wealth & capricious mineral markets, afford bad management?

Much enjoyed exploring such questions with my Aussie mates, while sampling splendid wine.

Australia, they told me, is terribly vulnerable to bad management, and to bozo unions & nitwit politicians.

In good times, high mineral prices mask these debilitating weaknesses, which tend to fester.

When mineral prices collapse, as they always do, the economy follows.

A high cost economy cannot afford bad management. Resource wealth is only a temporary buffer, and might even be a curse.

High cost countries that lack natural resources - such as Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, and even Japan - seem much more resilient.

Bad managers, bozo unions and nitwit politicians seem to have shorter half-lives in such countries.

(Japan may be an exception, at least with respect to the latter...)

My Danish colleagues tell me, "We realize we are small, unimportant, and vulnerable. We learn to become self-reliant, and to get along."

Or, as my Aikido sensei used to say, "The knife is sharpened on the stone, Pascal-san..."


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