Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Staring down tough economic times, getting with the strengths

When the going gets tough it is probably time to play the strengths, or so Prime Minister Rudd seems to believe. The ‘service economy’ approach was a key factor of neo-liberal economics, with participating economies dumping manufacturing and agriculture in favour of intangibles.

The downside of this approach has been the lack of originality in favour of a follow the leader approach. At best it simply changed international competition from tangible to non-tangible products. At worst the ‘Simon says’ approach led economies lemming-like to global financial disaster.

= Disaster training and research
= Housing former
Guantanamo Bay inmates
= Contracting military training

Recognizing competitive advantages and breaking from the pack should be a core marketing perquisite, though it rarely is. Rudd is adopting the approach and has already signaled the first two initiatives on the list. The third I propose as a logical extension of playing Australia’s strengths.

Disaster training and research

Australia's neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region face an era of "mega-disasters" affecting hundreds of thousands of people as urbanisation, climate change and food shortages amplify the impact of natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and cyclones in coming years…” Disasters warning for Asia-Pacific

Maybe it is the harsh environment in Australia, but the country’s emergency response ability is almost legendary, and largely based on the enthusiasm of volunteers. There is a major market for these skills, right on our doorstep. We are generally first in, in this region, but getting in first as a service provider is a brilliant concept.

Housing former Guantanamo Bay inmates

"Australia, along with a number of other countries, has been approached to consider resettling detainees from Guantanamo Bay," the Prime Minister's spokesman said. Kevin Rudd may take Gitmo inmates

Okay, it sounds like buying trouble, but that is assuming a lot without seeing the detail. "Any determination for an individual to come to Australia would be made on a case-by-case basis. All persons accepted to come to Australia would have to meet Australia's strict legal requirements and go through the normal and extremely rigorous assessment processes."

Is the aim to allow residency to rebuild lives or just stick them in local prisons? About 60 detainees have been cleared for release by US authorities but are unable to return to their homelands because they fear retribution. I’ve already reflected on Australia’s ability to absorb a diversity of cultures (The compleat hedonist or Xmas was a cracker ) and can actually see this plan working – with the US footing the bill of course.

Contracting military training

"… you get better soldiers if you spend more time on education and less on training," he says. "Training is characterised by what to think. Education is characterised by how to think." Brigadier General John Caligari – Australian Army

I had problems with this as a non-militarist, but the realist part of me won out. The relatively small size of the Australian standing military is more than offset by the notable efficiency of our troops. Partly that is due to the training regime and partly the underlying national character.

To my way of thinking Rudd should be on the phone to Obama the day after inauguration, selling the new president on an Aussie based training regime for the US military. The US will always want to be front line, but events are showing us they could perform a hell of a lot better.

Australia offers an incredible range of training terrain and environments as well as a proven approach. I suspect we lose more diggers when our SAS are unengaged than on any battlefield; but SAS are the small but vital aggressive portion of our military, and being idle does not suit them well.

The bottom line is that there are things Aussies do remarkably well, and these should be our international marketing focus. Each of these three concepts actually offers the prospect of greater peace and security on a troubled planet as well an economic boost in troubled times.


lindsaylobe said...

I think these 3 ideas are excellent.

It reminds me that even the ruthless conqueror and master of the Mongol horde, Genghis Khan was a philosopher and as masterly with the pen as he was with the sword.

Historians assumed the ancient Mongolian ruler was illiterate, because the creation of the Mongolian language was in the early part of the 13th century when he was much older and would not have the time to learn. But it’s more likely he was it's instigator. Tengus Bayaryn, a professor at China's Inner Mongolia University, announced that he has found an "autographic edict" written by Genghis Khan in 1219.
Genghis Khan united the vast empire with a few simple rules which allowed different beliefs and cultures to flourish and live in harmony, but the punishment for back sliders was also draculain – death.

Best wishes

www.PatioOnly.com said...

Advanced preparation is extremely important. I wish more would take it seriously.

Cart said...

Lindsay, I've been wondering if it is Genghis Rudd or Kevin Khan, the latter I think... He seems ruthless enough under that personable exterior.

Pat I usually dump ads, but I'll let this one pass.

Utah Savage said...

I'm a fan of Genghis Khan myself. How this relates to your post is beyond me, but I'll pretend I understand and try again another day.

Cart said...

US, touché :)