United Kingdom

Paul Summerville • December 28, 2012

Commentary on how cats can make you crazy, a great economics thinker passes on, better Switzerland than Norway for the UK, country supper, it stinks in the UK, and Bob Rae’s voice quietens.


Atlantic -- How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy
Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain.

Exit or voice, or both?

Paul Summerville • December 25, 2012

The Globalist's Top Books of 2012 and interesting reviews. 

Guardian -- Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World
A Tory MP challenges the neocon view of empire in this important history.

Paul Summerville • December 21, 2012

Commentary on the world according to charts, is America’s moral compass broken, why austerity is killing the British economy, the Spanish case, why economic liberalism still works, and Tom’s first year.

Useful chart packages of the best 2012 charts. Hat tip Macquarie.

Business Insider -- Wall Street's Biggest Geniuses Reveal Their Favorite Charts Of 2012
There's no better way to understand the world than with charts.

Paul Summerville • December 11, 2012

Commentary on a positive outlook for the US economy in 2013, a useful list of investment themes for 2013, the African boom, a deportation challenge, the danger of prohibition, and why the United States is so unequal and Canada less so.

Is private sector deleveraging over?

Paul Summerville • December 4, 2012

Commentary on China`s rebound, the developed world`s growth grief, and austerity`s bite.

Be careful what you believe about China`s amazing rebound.

China Financial Markets -- Three cheers for the new data?
The big news in the past two weeks has been the slew of economic data suggesting that China has firmly turned the corner on its economic closedown.


Paul Summerville • November 26, 2012

Commentary on the importance of geography, the United Kingdom’s energy chance, and is this Ford's last day?

Robert Kaplan’s new book The Revenge of Geography helps explain a lot.

When he writes that the southern border of Europe is the Sahara Desert, Europe is an extension of Russia, and that the great 21st century challenge for the United States is the upward movement of Mexicans drawn by wealth because there is no natural border you get a sense of his thinking.

Paul Summerville • October 21, 2012

Commentary on the importance of the ground game, Argo’s shadow, China’s new growth plan, from nicking a bit off the gold coin to printing money,  Cameron’s bad week, and did something strange happen with Canadian MP pension reform.

Adding up electoral college votes.

Paul Summerville • October 19, 2012

Commentary on Sweden's journey to balance, one paving stone on the path to social mobility, the unintended consequences of ultra-easy monetary policy, growth isn’t finished, the US needs to fix its finances, and another kick at Canadian democracy.

Balancing fair government and the economy in Sweden.

Economist -- The new model
A bit more unequal, a lot more efficient.

The UK’s education maintenance allowance.

Paul Summerville • October 16, 2012

Commentary on nothing exceptional about the US economy recovery, Porter’s insight, America’s need for negative interest rates, Mitt’s funny math, UK hot and cold with the EU, small islands big problems, and the folly of prison crowding.

Nothing exceptional just stubbornly sluggish.

Paul Summerville • September 30, 2012

Commentary on the economics of replacement referees, the system, Mitt’s collapse, living and dying older, and the NEXEN deal turned around.

Try finding the next 121 referees.

Financial Times -- NFL falls foul of the ‘drunken Santa’ problem
Americans woke up on Tuesday to find their country consumed with its most momentous labour drama since Ronald Reagan broke the Professional Air Traffic Controllers’ Organization in 1981.

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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.