I'm old enough to remember when the phrase 'Stuff you Jack, I'm alright...' was considered an insult. It referred to a person who disregarded the needs of others because they had enough to take care of themselves. It connoted a person whose selfishness led them to refuse to contribute to the common good.
To be fair, such people tended to refuse all offers of help for themselves, but then they also insisted that others must do the same. In their own limited world-view (constituting only themselves), their logic is that if everyone takes care of themselves, then everything will work out fine. But in the days of the 'frontier', such people were rightly seen as a potential danger to the community -- for their utter self-orientation potentially endangered the survival of members of the group.
'Stuff you Jack, I'm alright...' is an Australianism, and people who lived by that code were considered, dare I say it, un-Australian.
Now of course, an attitude and resolve to be independent and self-sufficient is a fine thing and important for human development and psychological wellness. But such independence does not excuse one from the obligation to tend to the wellbeing of our community -- indeed, it strengthens that obligation precisely because we have enough for ourselves.
But what is the outcome of 30 years of neoliberalism in Australia? 'Nope, nope, nope,' from the Australian Prime Minister when asked if our wealthy nation will help persecuted Rohingya refugees. And domestically, it's also 'nope, nope, nope' to those in need of welfare payments to live a dignified life and remain socially, culturally and economically engaged with the rest of the Australian community.
Australia has begun to diminish its net worth precisely at the same time as we seem to have reached 'peak wealth'.
A solution to this quandry lies in re-orienting our values towards a more traditional Australian notion of who and what constitutes a truly rich person. That is a person who, yes, has enough to live on -- but who is also connected to their community, contributes to it and benefits from it.
I believe that Greens policies around housing, the Arts, community enrichment, welfare, disability support and overseas aid constitute the best way for Australia to boost our true net worth -- by caring for and supporting people, and thereby contributing to a fuller, richer society for all of us.