Monday, May 20, 2013

Budgets, the Aussie dollar, a passing reference to vaccination

Measured by the general tone of commentators as well as initial opinion poll results, the latest Commonwealth budget has been quite well received in the general community. Opposition Leader Abbott's response was, not unexpectedly, highly political but has still helped set the frame for discussion.

The interesting thing now is just what happens to the Australian economy, for that will affect the exact form of discussion. While I expected the decline in the value of the Australian dollar to occur sooner than most people expected, it has come a little earlier than I expected, while the exact transmission mechanisms were a little different. I had expected the decline to be associated with the end of global quantitative easing. In fact, the present decline is due in part to the prospective, not actual, ending of QE in the US.

I don't make precise economic forecasts. When I do I am always wrong! However, analysis can reveal broad trends and something about possible alternative outcomes, even if we cannot actually pick turn points. Here the next twelve months are going to be very interesting. Forget hedge funds, by the way. 

On a completely different matter, the debate over vaccination has become a real issue in NSW. Should pre-schools be allowed to ban un-vaccinated children?       


Anonymous said...

Living in China is cheap and fun (for me) and the best bit is being far away from the pathetic politics of all parties.

Jim Belshaw said...


Evan said...

I am very pro-vaccination.

But if it works then the unvaccinated shouldn't be a problem.

Jim Belshaw said...

Part of the problem is the percentage. If you have one child that isn't vaccinated, but when you have a substantial number diseases reappear. We have seen this in Australia recently.

Anonymous said...

This guy Evan is so wrong. Vaccination works on the basis of 'herd immunity' from maximal rates of coverage. That's how smallpox was eliminated. With only a small number unvaccinated, herd immunity does the rest. Once people start to opt out in significant numbers, herd immunity breaks down and outbreaks become prevalent. There is especially a worry with diseases such as whooping cough, where waning immunity is a risk.

Jim Belshaw said...

The whooping cough one is interesting, anon. There was an outbreak in Sydney quite recently, including one case in the head office of the place where I am doing some contract work. They had to send a warning email around.

Anonymous said...


Just to follow up on Evan's "but if it works, then unvaccinated shouldn't be a problem" comment:

This link -

- explains the problem with Evan's view.

I hadn't commented earlier on this because of my very strong feelings upon this exact point. My newborn granddaughter was placed in exactly this danger during an outbreak of measles in Canberra not so long ago, due to her mother's (my daughter's) 'blended family' which includes a couple of older kids whose mother has very strong anti-vaccination views which resulted in both of them going down very badly with measles.

I am not sympathetic to those views, is all I will say.


Evan said...

Just to clarify. I meant shouldn't be a worry for those who are vaccinated.

Jim Belshaw said...

Evan, qualification noted. I understand that part of the problem is that those vaccinated still have some exposure to risk. kvd, understand your point.