SYDNEY (Reuters) - Media magnate Rupert Murdoch said on Sunday that Australians were poorly prepared to live in a global economy and may "learn the hard way" what it means.
Speaking amid the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, Murdoch cited the recent fluctuations in the value of the Australian dollar as evidence of Australia vulnerability to world markets.
The rise of China and India as economic superpowers, each with a new, vast and ambitious middle class, posed special challenges for Australia, and the country would need to adapt.
"Over the next 30 years or so, two or three billion people will join this new global middle class," Murdoch said at the Sydney Opera House. "The world has never seen this kind of advance before. These are people who have known deprivation.
"These are people who are intent on developing their skills, improving their lives and showing the world what they can do. And they live right in Australia's neighborhood."
The Aussie has lost 15 percent this month as investors unwound carry trades and dumped commodity currencies on expectations that a global recession would hurt demand for natural resources. Australia is a big exporter of commodities.