Letter: Antipodes offer economic model

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The Independent Online
From Mr Brendan Long

Sir: I am constantly astounded by articles such as the one published on 5 January ("The challenge of the Asian tigers: why we are looking east for ideas"), which explore possible models of potential economic growth and development for the UK.

The British press often seems to look either to the US or to the so-called "tiger" economies of South-east Asia while ignoring the enormous differences in social and political infrastructure and attitudes that these countries embrace in order to achieve their prosperity.

Surely, much closer to the British experience (and therefore better examples) must be Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are modern, stable, multicultural liberal democracies; both are closely modelled on the British system of law and government; and both have expanding private and industrial sectors. Australia and New Zealand have recently instituted major public- sector reforms and privatisation programmes, have low unemployment and stronger growth, and attract a lot of foreign investment.

If these two countries were considered to be like Britain, albeit unburdened by a stratified social order and hierarchical political establishment, a more meaningful debate might be held.

Yours sincerely,

Brendan Long

London, SE22

5 January