Upside-Down View

Michael Goldfarb of Global Post explains why the general negativity of political ineptitude and global financial meltdown seem different when you look at them from Australia.

"If you want to get away from the mounting feeling of dread in the U.S. and Europe, the sensation that maybe this economic downturn is not quite over and that Barack Obama may not have quite sharp enough elbows to make a success of his job, if you want to get a fresh perspective on things, then you need to go to the far side of the world — just make sure someone else is paying for it," writes Michael Goldfarb. "I've just come back from the far side, Australia to be precise. What I saw in Australia was a country that has weathered the global downturn pretty well. I experienced a couple of weeks of work in which I didn't encounter massive existential despair about the state of the world, in which reports of body counts and corruption in war zones, hypocrisy and corruption in government didn't dominate discussion. This happy view wasn't just true in Australia. I spent a bit of time in Singapore, visited the docks and spent time watching the armada of cargo ships riding at anchor, waiting to be loaded or off-loaded. Wealth and industry and the lack of introspection that I now recognize as a symptom of economic/existential malaise defined the city. The reason for this can be summed up in one word: China."

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The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE), a prototype heavy-lift utility vehicle to support future human exploration of extraterrestrial surfaces, at right, is parked beside the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Pressurized Excursion Module (HDU-PEM), at left, a concept off-Earth living and work quarters for astronauts stationed on asteroids, the moon or Mars, 15 September 2010. Photo by: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
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