Financial Bubble

Paul Summerville • March 11, 2011

The bright and young mostly female cashiers at our local food store Peppers are a useful touchstone for the odd question as they price the goods, pack the grocery bag, and take my money.

Over the past few days, I found it interesting that none had heard of Germaine Greer, the Women’s Room, or that once upon a time that their great grandmothers could not write a cheque in their own name or borrow money.

Paul Summerville • December 2, 2010

Here, just a tiny bit of salmonella with that chicken burger?

News that the US Senate easily passed a sweeping food safety law reminds us -- again -- of the question of the role of the state in regulating the marketplace, as well as our lives everyday or otherwise.

With the breakdown of the global financial system and the impact on the global economy this question has gained new urgency.

Food and investment banks can sadly, both kill. And so can the state. (ed's note -- the state is a beast).

Paul Summerville • September 16, 2010

My mom very rarely cried.

The few times she did cry -- I can remember three times -- twice out of shock, once out of anger -- are seared into my brain.

Paul Summerville • September 14, 2010

What could possibly be wrong with constitutional changes that firmly puts the military under civilian control? For some, if that civilian control has deep Islamic roots, and the military has been equated with secularisation.

For us, and most balanced Western commentary however, the news that voters in Turkey gave strong backing to a package of changes to the country's military-era constitution was greeted warmly particularly since it moved Turkey's constitution closer to what would be required to join the EC.

Turkish delight.

Paul Summerville • September 11, 2010

About 4.30 AM Tokyo time September 12, 2001 our home phone rang. I was running some businesses for Toronto Dominion in Japan. It was not unusual for someone in the Toronto office to forget the time difference so we never answered our phone at that time letting voice mail take care of it.

Of course if it was an emergency then they would call back.

They called back.

Paul Summerville • August 31, 2010

The threat of boat after boat after boat full of distressed human beings coming to Canada ahead of other refugees is a real and present danger to the country's compassion and well being. Getting the relevant Asian countries to sign the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees is one part of the solution to this problem.

The other better solution, as we have already noted, is to make the economic and criminal sanctions on those profiting from this trade in humans so overwhelmingly painful that they will not contemplate ever using Canada as a destination.

Paul Summerville • August 30, 2010

If you are 100 miles from the Canadian border, travelling on a bus or train, try real hard not to look un-American.

And make sure you have all necessary and valid id.

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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.