Tuesday 4 January 2005
One thing that always rankles me about New Zealand is the way New Zealanders emphasise the negative side of everything. Sometimes it's because complaining will push someone's selfish agenda. Most of the time I think it's just a national habit of whining, and reporting on whining. It's intensely annoying. It's also actually harmful to the country and its people.
I just saw a particularly good example. The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal did their 11th annual ranking of countries' "economic freedom". Roughly they're measuring how much government intervention there is in the economy. (It's a conservative think tank, so more is necessarily bad.) New Zealand was ranked fifth most economically free in the world, behind only Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg and Estonia, and hence ahead of countries such as the United States, Australia, Japan, etc etc. So what was the TV headline for this impressive performance?
NZ SLIPS IN ECONOMIC FREEDOM
Because last year we were third in the world. Sigh.