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Analysis

South Australia’s horoscope: shear coincidence?

Analysis

With the prediction business booming, Richard Blandy takes a look at South Australia’s fortunes based on the Chinese horoscope … and discovers more than a few reasons why we should be feeling sheepish.

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Fortune-telling is more popular than ever. Demand has become so great that it long ago moved out of sideshow alleys into universities, government departments and big business.

The prediction business is booming, notwithstanding that the predictions being made (as in the recent Brexit referendum) are often wrong.

The phenomenal capacity of the job market to soak up economists is almost entirely due to the trade’s brilliant PR in selling its crystal-ball-gazing capabilities. Clothed in the jargon of science and armed with the magic of computers (and data from around the planet), economists have crowded out the older craftsmen, who used to do interesting things with owls’ entrails and the like.

Some of the older ways live on and still have their disciples. Numerologists, card readers and especially astrologers do good business. Most Australians would be familiar with the western signs of the zodiac, but fewer would appreciate the more ancient, more philosophical and more persuasive Chinese astrological system.

Chinese astrology is the real McCoy.

To operate the system one needs to know the birth year of the subject and, ideally, the birth month, day and time. This is vital information for understanding ourselves, our potential and what each year may bring.

Most people may think that South Australia was born at the Old Gum Tree in Glenelg on Proclamation Day – December 28, 1836. But this is wrong.

South Australia was born in London on October 9, 1835, in the year of the wood sheep, when George Fife Angas and other wealthy British merchants formed the South Australian Company to develop a new colony in South Australia. The company ended business in its own right on March 17, 1949, when it was liquidated by Elders, which had managed its Australian affairs since the death of its last colonial manager in 1936.

We cannot escape our sheepish origins, but we can determine to be good sheep rather than black sheep

From that moment, the future of South Australia lay in her potential as sheep country, as the early settlers quickly discovered. The sheep also has strong compatibility with the rabbit in the Chinese zodiac – a fact proven by South Australian farming history. Assuming that the meeting in London that formed the South Australian Company reached agreement to do so between 9 and 11am, South Australia’s ascendant sign is the snake – which also seems highly plausible.

According to Chinese astrology, we cannot escape our sheepish origins, but we can determine to be good sheep rather than black sheep. This may sound like a load of old Taurus, but the system is approximately as useful for forecasting purposes as other forms of voodoo, like sun spots, charting or econometrics, for example. For policy purposes, the State Administration Centre on Victoria Square should take note.

So, with the continued help of Theodora Lau’s Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, here goes.

The sheep is called the Good Samaritan of the lunar cycle. It is also the most feminine sign of the Chinese zodiac. She is righteous, sincere and easily taken in by sob stories. She is likely to be mild mannered, but at her best she is artistic, fashionable and a creative worker. At her worst, she tends to be easily overcome by her emotions and to become pessimistic.

The Chinese believe that good fortune smiles on the sheep because of her kind heart. Hers is the eighth sign, and to the Chinese, the number eight symbolises prosperity and comfort. She has fantastic luck: people often leave her money in their wills. Rich and powerful patrons take her under their wing. Somehow the fortunate sheep will always have things made easier for her.

One of her shortcomings is that she has difficulty in denying herself anything. She always overspends and should avoid handling her own finances. An extreme type of sheep may become totally profligate.

The South Australian wood sheep is a thoughtful, good-humoured sheep, with leisurely ways. She is sentimental and tries to please. She will be very sympathetic to the circumstances of those less fortunate than herself.

In turn, she will receive financial help or inherit money whenever she has need, sometimes from unlikely sources. And people usually (sometimes misguidedly) have faith in her ability to turn her ideas into profit.

The wood element gives her high morals and a good deal of self-confidence. But the wood element’s chief shortcoming is that she will tend to bite off more than she can chew and even push things to breaking point. She may not be able to finish what she started and may drift from one project to another without a satisfactory result.

A Libran sheep – in which category South Australia also finds herself – loves attention and sympathy. Approval and friendship are of utmost importance to her. Her receptive nature causes her to pause too long and too often, tallying up votes and gathering opinions tirelessly. She may end up a fence-sitter.

Infallible stuff, isn’t it?

Our Lucky Country streak; our good-naturedness; our reliance on rich and powerful patrons; our overspending tendency; our tendency to pessimism when things don’t easily pan out for us; our dithering and tendency to over-regulation; our faith in a Multi-Function Polis, an Olympic Dam or a high-level nuclear waste dump to resolve our economic difficulties; our taking on the construction of a ridiculously expensive new Royal Adelaide Hospital, and so it goes.

Having established the impressive credentials of this approach to understanding South Australia’s behaviour, let us turn to the immediate outlook.

This is a Year of the Monkey. It is a good year for the sheep. Remember the submarine contract coming our way. Opposition to South Australia is negligible from Canberra.

Next year is a Year of the Rooster. This is a rather expensive year. The sheep spends more than she earns, so it’s a year in which she should watch her finances very carefully. So next year’s state budget should be even more of a fiscal disaster than usual. You read it here first!

2018 is a Year of the Dog. It is the year of the next state election. This is a distressing year for the sheep, as she has to deal with unhappy changes and debts. This is not a good time for the State Government to make investments or long-term commitments. The sheep should maintain a very conservative outlook.

There is little doubt what this means – the Liberal Party will win the next state election and impose greater fiscal discipline on the state’s finances.

Richard Blandy is an Adjunct Professor of Economics in the Business School at the University of South Australia and a weekly contributor to InDaily.

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