|About the Book|
As the rapid economic growth fuelled by high commodity prices and capital investment in resources projects abates, many Australians are asking where the next wave of growth will come from. The rapid growth of emerging markets, particularly in Asia,MoreAs the rapid economic growth fuelled by high commodity prices and capital investment in resources projects abates, many Australians are asking where the next wave of growth will come from. The rapid growth of emerging markets, particularly in Asia, means there are enormous opportunities for Australia to grow through trade. Increased trade, which allows countries and firms to play to their strengths, creates wealth. If Australia continues to open its economy and plays to its comparative advantages in natural resource endowments and a highly skilled workforce, Australian businesses can access new markets and create new, more productive jobs. Australia can continue to raise income and employment levels, which raises living standards and promotes social inclusion.This growth is not assured. The basis of international competition is changing rapidly. In an ever more connected world, disruptive technologies and lower transportation costs means international competition is moving to the level of individual jobs. Many sectors and tasks which were previously insulated will become trade-exposed. Firms which are able to innovate and differentiate will thrive- others will not survive. The challenge for Australia is to create an agile, flexible economy capable of adapting to the inevitable rise in competition.Purposeful action is required. Australia faces a pervasive competitiveness problem. Many sectors of the economy lag behind international benchmarks. By focusing on its comparative advantages, raising productivity and improving competitiveness, Australia can continue to prosper. But complacency, or a focus on protecting the status quo rather than embracing the opportunity global trade presents, risks a painful correction through rising unemployment, falling wages and lower living standards.Australia has the endowments of skills and resources to continue to compete and prosper. A clear sense of purpose and decisive action by policy makers, business leaders, research institutions, educators and individual workers will be required to make the most of these endowments.