Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Commonwealth Games, TB, with a dash of economics

The Commonwealth Games begin today Australian time with the opening ceremony. Over on the Drum, Greg Jericho’s In defence of the poor person's Olympics takes a somewhat nostalgic look back. I have always enjoyed the Games. No doubt I will do so again. It’s a sort of family thing I guess.

One thing I will watching if I can is the Rugby Sevens. 

Australians are used to living in a relatively disease free society, at least so far as certain diseases are concerned. It wasn’t always thus. One thing that surprised me a little in my research into the history of Northern NSW was the prevalence of infectious and also mosquito bourn diseases in the nineteenth century.

I was reminded of this by a recent story on TB in PNG. While the story itself had a positive note, a new discovery for the treatment of TB, it is also a reminder that PNG is one of the world’s TB hot spots with over 15,000 new cases per annum. Despite Australia’s modern health system, a real risk remains that diseases such as TB or malaria will spill into the country from its neighbours.

During the lead-up to the last Australian Federal elections, I complained that the election campaign had become an effective policy-free zone. I think that was true, although I forgot one thing, the need to dig below the slogans and rhetoric to determine the underlying mental constructs. Annoying, actually. I shouldn’t have.

One of the problems with the absence of real debate prior to the last election is that now, when a real discussion is underway, it lacks an effective framework. A group of Melbourne economists has now entered the fray, attempting to argue the need for fundamental change if Australia’s living standards are to be maintained.  

Again, I think that the debate is wrongly framed, It also runs into disagreement: see this piece from Warwick Smith in the Guardian. Are we talking about the same economics’ profession/

I have argued that Australia does need to take action to improve productivity. But to what end?

Many Australians either do not accept the arguments put forward or, to the degree they do, feel that they will suffer the pain, others the gain. In these circumstances, putting off the pain is a perfectly rational response.


Anonymous said...

The hockey. The Scots are a very inventive people, no? Must be all that huddled in bed at night from the cold, with not much else to do than invent a steam engine or a vaccine or economics, to keep warm.

Plus also, I wouldn't actually mind sharing a border with Scotland, or Billy Connolly, or SL or DeuxExMacintosh.


Jim Belshaw said...

Curse you, kvd! Why did you mention hockey when I have to concentrate. I do not wish to share a border with you, too dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Also netball, except we should first retaliate by lodging a complaint under fair trading, product description laws against the Kiwis. I mean, the place is hardly 'New' anymore is it?


Jim Belshaw said...

I hadn't thought of that. Quite right. It's a case of unfair trading!