Renminbi

Paul Summerville • December 14, 2010
Paul Summerville • December 14, 2010

The Euro is cornered.

A flawed enterprise from the very beginning, blind to history, Euro hubris made the currency more susceptible to collapse because of the incorporation of countries that were fiscal wrecks.

Morning Market at Nihonbashi -- Hirokage

Paul Summerville • October 16, 2010

A lot of nasty moments in human history have been about our ancestors fighting over territory both above and below ground.

As thrilling and chilling the rescue of the Chilean-33 was the drama was set up by seemingly limitless Chinese demand for cooper pushing up prices so high that unsafe and unstable mines became profitable.

Israel's expansion into the West Bank and the recent Chinese-Japanese feud are other flashpoints.

More water on the boil risks everybody getting scalded particularly as hyper-easy monetary policy inflates the value of all types of rocks.

Paul Summerville • October 15, 2010

When the Canadian dollar first hit parity against the US dollar in living memory -- the fall of 2007 -- it wasn't long before the cab drivers in Boston where I was working cited this as a truest sign of the decline of the US economy.

The world and the United States has been on quite a rocky ride in the three years since with deep trends now playing out in ways that may shape the next decade of politics and economics.

The world is coming to a boil.

 

Paul Summerville • October 2, 2010

The best public policy has the dual benefits of being morally sensible and economically beneficial.

The central premise of Canada's Excellent Future is that the market economy and social justice are two sides of the same coin (*see bottom of blog).

The market economy is a vast wonderful open vibrant space that gives people as individuals or groups the chance to profit or not to profit from their intelligence, industry, and discipline and is essential to a successful social democracy.

Paul Summerville • September 30, 2010

The story is an old one.

A country reaches a critical tipping point of economic power that encourages it to shape the world more to its own liking particularly in its own neighbourhood.

China is such a country.

Paul Summerville • September 28, 2010

Dueling, slavery, foot-binding, strapping children, long gruesome executions, public torture all were once completely normal if by some considered wrong.

How these practices, in most countries anyway, became unpopular, outlawed, and the subject of moral opprobrium is fascinating history.

This raises the question of which common practices are completely normal today but that our grandchildren will ask, 'what were they thinking?'.

Paul Summerville • September 19, 2010

The impact of the Tea Party on American politics is already being compared to the polarisation caused by Barry Goldwater whose 1964 Presidential candidacy gave Lyndon Johnston's one of the most lopsided victories in American Presidential history.

Still Goldwater gave the Republicans a sharper conservative edge. Beginning in 1968 the Republicans won five of the next six Presidential elections three of them under Ronald Reagan's banner (George Bush the elder having been Reagan's Vice-President) who gained national prominence by delivering a speech supporting Goldwater.

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.

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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.