Out of Whack, Global vs Local, White Men Matter Most, Just One, Cracking the Ceiling

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US: Household Net Worth: 1952-2015

What I’m listening to. 

Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Francis Poulenc. 3-Déploration

Had a two hour conversation yesterday with one of the world’s leading thinkers on asset management. I told him my story of a Uber ride on Saturday night where the driver told me he was buying his third semi-detached home in London after telling me has no other income, five kids, and is on a second marriage. He told me about the money illusion that has grossly distorted asset values. The article below helps explain.

Market Watch - The ‘scariest chart out there’ looms over pivotal week for markets

Basically, it goes all the way back to 1952 to show just how out of whack household net worth has become. As you can see, the last two times there was a big trend divergence, a bust soon followed. 

Thornton describes it as “monetary and fiscal policy insanity,” and predicts there’s more to come when the bubble bursts — which could be as soon as this year. Roberts says his “bearish spidey senses” are tingling, but “the problem is that markets can remain irrational far longer than logic would dictate.” He urges caution “while waiting for the market to finally declare itself either a ‘bull” or a ‘bear.’

Great article from the Spectator about ‘what the hell is going on’. Its not right or left, atheism or magical thinking, it’s global versus local. Thanks to David from London.

Spectator - The working-class vote explains the rise of Austria’s far-right

So Austria has a new leader. The radical leftist Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Green party leader running as an independent, has just edged out radical right-wing politician Norbert Hofer in one of the closest elections in European history. After postal votes were counted, Van der Bellen had 50.2 per cent and Hofer 49.8 per cent – a margin of just 0.4 percentage points.

Related.

Times - Biggest vote for far right since 1945 in Austria poll

Austria narrowly rejected an anti-Muslim president yesterday but the far right celebrated its biggest surge in Europe since the Second World War.

Meanwhile in America, angry white men.

New Yorker - Do Trump and Clinton Matter?

Here is a rough recent accounting of the relationship between Donald Trump and the Republican Party. 

No siblings.

London Review of Books - Little Emperors

I was born in 1980, the year China implemented the one-child policy: I don’t have siblings, and neither do my peers.

The final ceiling.

Sacramento Bee - Why all the Hillary haters?

In this year of political rage, one aspect that baffles me somewhat is the absolute, electrified, apoplectic, blurred-vision hatred of Hillary Clinton. Nor do I get the similar outrage expressed about President Barack Obama, who in Comment Section World makes Donald Trump look like a lovable Disney character.

 

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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.