The denial at the heart of the Australian way of life


A post over at Catallaxy Files on the subject of the Australian cultural attitudes to spending and saving money caught my eye today.

“Being the son of two immigrant parents who came to Australia in the 1970s (I was born in Australia in 1981), I have been able to witness clear differences in attitudes to work, consumption, savings, debt, etc between myself and my peers in the Illawarra region in southern in NSW. I have also been able to talk to many 2nd generation Australians from non-British and non-Irish backgrounds who have witnessed some of the same differences in cultural behaviour that I have observed and whose parents also saw the same differences when they came to Australia in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s from Southern or Eastern Europe.”

This was my response to the post:

As a native born Australian, (1971), with ancestry in Australia going back to the early 1800s, I entirely agree with your observations on the cultural unwillingness of Australians to save and for their propensity to throw away their money with just about any excuse. I only came to this understanding myself after I spent 10 years outside Australia without returning during that period.

I was by no means immune to this behavior but before it could get me into serious trouble I was fortunate to marry a lovely Dutch girl whose attitudes to money were entirely contrary to my own. The Dutch are a nation of savers. They are so tight that they make the Scots appear positively profligate. By the example that she set I learned not only to save money but to love doing so.

Two weeks ago we left Australia for good for life in Holland. Family reasons were a major part of the decision, but another big factor in the decision to go was the Australian economical situation. Australia and Australians are a nation and people in complete and total denial. I lived in Italy in the first decade of this century when their economy went to shit but they’ve got nothing on what is happening now in Australia. The difference was that the Italians are also a nation of savers, not comparable to the Dutch, but far superior to Australia. That mentality has so far saved them from their government’s economic ineptitude.

But Australia is on a fast train to economic ruin that is cheered on by the passengers and the drivers of that train. The government and the people are in it together. I have had so many conversations with my fellow Australians over the last few years on topics ranging from spending habits, to saving habits, to the purchase of homes, and to the willingness to take on extraordinary amounts of personal debt.

They are in complete and total denial. As far as they are concerned, real estate always, and I mean always increases in value, no matter what happens overseas or may have happened in Australia’s past. And if you ever dare to suggest that they might be better off servicing those enormous loans instead of going out for their smashed avo breakfast then just sit back and watch the infantile temper tantrums.

It’s over. The only thing holding it up is the mass importation of 2nd world peasants to give the growth rates a temporary false veneer. That and the fact that Australians refuse to even think about it. Willful denial will still get you a hell of a long way. But when it gets set off, when the bubbles all burst in an awful domino effect, then Australia really will have become the banana republic of the South Pacific that we were once warned about, ironically enough by one of the worst offenders in this entire debacle.

This article was originally published at, where Adam Piggott publishes regularly and brilliantly. You can purchase Adam’s books here.

Photo by deirdrechute

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Adam Piggott writes about all things red pill and alt right. He examines what it means to be a man in the modern world and gives men advice beyond the typical 'how to pull chicks', (although he does that too.) He plays the guitar, smokes cigars, drinks wine and rum, rides motorbikes, is bad at cricket, and distrusts any man who has no redeeming petty vices. He lives with his wife in Melbourne where he does his best to be a reality check to any Millennials or progressives so unfortunate as to cross his path.
  • very 80s Man

    I think the older generations of Australians had a frugal attitude (as compared to today). Alas their children (boomers) failed to adopt their ways. The ability to delay gratification and save for future consumption, to have low time preference, is what made the west great. It is the only way for capital to accumulate.

    • Joe

      Why would you try to accumulate capital when the state simply steals it from you and gives it to those who did not. Between 1/3 to 1/2 of income is stolen, and so cannot be used as capital savings. Between 1/3 to 1/2 of CAPITAL GAINS are stolen and similarly with compulsory superannuation. The ONLY thing not taxed is the house you live in. Any wonder Australians invest heavily in their houses.

      • No point in saving.
        Bank interest rates for savers are pitiful.
        Reserve bank has effectively been printing money to give to current homeowners,via lower interest rates.
        So, robbing the poor ( savers) to transfer more wealth to Homeowners via increasingly larger house values.
        Really, quite obscene.
        Australia is a complete ripoff ponzi scheme,with lobotomised monkeys at the Helm.
        Adam, no wonder you moved on. I hope the beer in Holland is good !

        • entropy

          Great comment, Justin.

          For me, the role of the RBA in artificially perpetuating social inequality by suppressing interest rates has been too long under the radar in these discussions.

          I struggle to find any plausible explanation that doesn’t equate to the Reserve Bank Board being corrupt as fuck and beholden to interest groups.

          The generations they screwed over will remember them when the revolution comes. Lest we forget.

      • very 80s Man

        Absolutely I agree. The low interest rate doesn’t help either. What I mean is that so many people live almost paycheck to paycheck. Even if they kept more of their income, they would simply buy more stuff. Their focus is on the here and now, rather than the future. It is seen as perfectly normal to rack up a huge personal debt, even before buying a house at an insane price.

  • Karen Dwyer

    With reference to the article above and the comments 1-11 hours ago below, I would also add this:

    Europe and, to a lesser extent, the UK were witness to the awful consequences of famine before, during, and after WWII. Australia did not suffer in the same way and did not experience rationing (& frank unavailability of food) as did those in Europe.

    If one managed to survive an awful winter because one was able to grub up young dandelions or was given a cabbage (see “One Magic Square”), one has a tendency to not want to waste anything, least of all food.

    It is not surprising that the Dutch are frugal. Food deprivation was extreme. Those who “adore” the image of Audrey Hepburn without recognising that “gamine” actually means “starved in her youth” are the ones who are going to be carrying images of her on their handbags while trotting off to the newest caff.

    It’s why the U.S. allowed themselves to get into huge lifestyle debt (little collective memory of famine). It’s why various “Asians” (it’s a vast continent with repeated experiences of famine in various countries) wear quantities of gold.

    It’s why individuals of various countries will rort ridiculously overly generous welfare systems. They, like Scarlett O’Hara, have vowed “never to go hungry again”.

    And they don’t much care if that means that your children might…

  • Andrew Brough

    So when it all goes belly up what will happen to those with savings?

    • Dom Inic

      The book, Reinhart and Rogoff – “This time is different, eight centuries of financial folly” has some answers. in the past govt defaults or govt tries to inflate away the debts. This something that the RBA already wishes for but its not working now with low interest rates. An Aussie dollar is only a promise from the govwenment and currency devaluations happen. Wealth is destroyed along with jobs and hard times follow until hard work and real growth leads to greed and debt and the cycle starts all over again

  • Dom Inic

    So true. How many turkeys in australia have
    tried telling me real estate prices will only rise

  • *ponders while adding pepper to smashed avocado on sourdough*