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Shaping Australia: Our Shared Responsibility to Future Generations

Paul Brzeski
4 min readAug 26


In the quest for Australia’s future prosperity, there’s a trove of wisdom to be gleaned from history — particularly the pivotal shift from protectionism to the dynamic prosperity of the mid-20th century. As we confront intricate challenges spanning economics, society, and the environment, the significance of our collective and individual responsibility towards future generations has never been clearer.

The historical narrative underscores the delicate art of balancing trade policies. Amidst the Great Depression’s turmoil, excessive protectionism saw nations retreat into isolation, worsening global economic woes. Yet, in the post-World War II era, calibrated trade policies propelled Australia’s resurgence, epitomized by the 1957 Japan-Australia Commerce Agreement. It’s a potent reminder that both the benefits of globalization and the safeguarding of local economies hold merit. Our approach must navigate these two poles to avert the pitfalls of unfettered globalization and the stagnation of isolationism.

Investments in education and infrastructure proved pivotal in propelling the mid-20th century’s boom. Echoes of this success resonate as Australia’s reconstruction endeavours, like the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme, not only rekindled economic growth but embodied a nation’s determination to invest in its own future. By echoing this strategy, we lay the groundwork for enduring growth and innovation, fostering sustained economic vitality well into the coming decades.

Yet, an acute lack of foresight is evident where new money and novel sectors are concerned. The political debacle of the National Broadband Network comes to mind. Sectors like video games and other arts, despite their immense potential, remain underfunded. These domains don’t solely foster creativity; they also drive economic expansion. Neglecting their potential hampers our capacity to generate fresh revenue streams, job opportunities, and global recognition.

Inclusivity remains a cornerstone for shaping a brighter future. As seen during the post-war era’s emergence of welfare states and universal healthcare, drawing from these models ensures prosperity extends to all. Policies supporting equitable opportunities, progressive taxation, and small businesses amplify the rewards of progress, eroding inequality and fortifying societal equilibrium.

Sustainable growth emerges as a central imperative in our evolving landscape. In this era marked by environmental challenges, the importance of incorporating environmental considerations into our economic strategies cannot be overstated. Lessons from failed conservation efforts in the Great Barrier Reef underscore the need to get serious about preserving natural treasures. Our economic growth must harmonize with our planet’s wellbeing.

Flexibility remains our ally in navigating an ever-shifting global economy. As industries and technology morph, our approach to learning and innovation must adapt. Cultivating a culture of ongoing education, retraining initiatives, and investments in innovation fortify our workforce’s resilience, preparing them to embrace evolving prospects.

In a world where challenges transcend borders, global cooperation assumes newfound importance. Collaboration, a cornerstone in the Bretton Woods system’s success, stands as an antidote to global challenges. It is our pathway to address complex issues, safeguard economies, and establish a harmonious trajectory for future generations.

Reflecting on past errors is critical. Lessons from the Great Depression and the pitfalls of economic isolationism underscore the danger of dogmatic ideologies. We don’t need to look much further than our allies the United Kindgom and Brexit and the discord in the United States to see echoes of the same patterns emerging today. Averting repetition of these missteps demands care, learning from both our accomplishments and failures.

Ironically, amidst today’s landscape, forces often labelled as conservative and traditionalist appear to be the very agents of radical transformation. Their only connection to the past being a repetition of ideas that have been tested before and shown to be flawed, rather than any genuine adherence to historical wisdom.

As we steer Australia’s course forward, our collective responsibility and personal agency burn bright. Each citizen holds the mantle of informed civic engagement, advocating for policies that champion the wellbeing of future generations. It’s imperative that our leaders rise to the occasion, shaping policies that delicately balance economic expansion, social welfare, and environmental preservation.

The transition from protectionism to mid-20th century prosperity contains timeless lessons for us to learn from when planning for Australia’s future. Embracing principles of balanced trade, investments in education and infrastructure, inclusivity, sustainability, adaptability, global collaboration, and enlightened investment in emerging sectors, is paramount. Ultimately, our character is defined by actions rather than words — the way we uplift the vulnerable and ensure equitable progress. With these principles steering our course, we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, forging a path that fulfils our obligation to both present and future generations.



Paul Brzeski

Sharing my opinion and passions about the many things in life.