A topic I often struggle with is urban development. In Australia at present, the pressure is on to create more housing to help with the crazy property prices that have become the norm. A lot of people are struggling with rent and the cost of living pressures. On the other hand, the environment has been used and abused for so long now that fauna and flora are increasingly becoming extinct or endangered. For me, we shouldn’t be any near the situation where species have become extinct. Unfortunately, it is now becoming normalised. At one point in my life it was considered as a dire consequence while now it is talked about as something that needs to be balanced with ‘progress’.
For Australia, migration is a big factor. Our population is being increased by increased numbers of migrants who often arrive with funds greater than the average Australian. It increases the pressure on housing and our use of resources which in turn pushes on environmental limits.
Personally, I love nature. I despair that we as a society are so readily willing to sacrifice it for short term gains. Still, I feel I would be a lot more able to accept this destruction if I thought that is what Australians actually desired. However, I don’t think it is. Most people I talk to prefer living in leafy locations. Access to nature is valued by most Australians as far as I can tell. Yet, somehow in a democratic system, our leaders are constantly pushing for more development at the cost of the natural environment. Of course, the obvious explanation is that people value the environment but value jobs and other quality of life factors even more. At this point, the topic becomes harder to quantify, harder to define. Does migration equate to a better quality of life for Australians?
Migration definitely expands our economy. More people almost universally require more goods and services and thus the economy has to expand in accordance with this. Also, more people from around the world can offer more skills and knowledge and can represent an injection of foreign investment which can also be expected to expand the economy. There is also the matter of economies of scale. As processes are geared up to handle more people, efficiencies can be expected and this in turn can have a positive impact on productivity.
To be continued in a future post…