Paul Summerville • January 6, 2013

Commentary on bad IMF math, rail travel in the UK, Jared Diamond’s love of nature, rape in India, down on your luck learn how to pickpocket, and living in the Arctic.

Actually austerity makes things worse, sorry.

Washington Post -- IMF: Austerity is much worse for the economy than we thought
Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund made a striking admission in its new World Economic Outlook.

Paul Summerville • January 22, 2012

Commentary on radioactive rice, killing off Iranian nuclear scientists, the IMF and Euro bailouts, Greek’s default, on Europe, Happy Newt, democracy and oil, and legalising it.

Mummy, how come my rice is glowing? Thanks to Jeremy of Tokyo.

Paul Summerville • November 23, 2010

Something's rotten in the state of Denmark.

With Wall Street bonuses about to be unleashed on its lucky occupants, the real unemployment rate hovering close to 20%, data confirming that America has become a two-tier society, the Federal government gridlocked to death, the Federal Reserve now the biggest owner of its own paper with the attendant risk to the dollar, and the assets of America's six biggest financial institutions equal to 65% of US GDP, the call to revolt may be falling on fertile ground.

Chris Hedges and others explain.

Paul Summerville • October 11, 2010

Joseph Klein, famous teller of Bill Clinton's political genius, travels across America and discovers that Americans have largely figured out that the great Islamic threat that pushed the country into two expensive, nasty hot wars pales in comparison to the real and present danger of an economy that has fallen away while China ascends.

With the mid-term elections a few weeks away the political consequence to incumbents -- many of whom happen to be Democrats -- is likely to register a political earthquake of a magnitude not seen in many generations.

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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.