Elephant Shooting, Greek Pain, Different Oysters, Taxing Wages, University Investment, Chinese Beauty, Time Travel, Here We Go

George Orwell’s famous essay on British Imperialism was about how he shot an elephant in Burma so he didn’t look foolish.

With 2,000 or so Burmese looking on he felt he had to pull the trigger.

In the United States the elephant is public debt, and the Republicans are having trouble finding a top gun.

Articles also on Greece, Japan rethinking its economy (again), the high cost of wage taxation, whether an expensive university education makes sense, contemporary Chinese stuff, playing with time, and Canada’s social conservatives start to stir.

Why are the Republicans having trouble finding a serious candidate to run for President (and why are some borderline loony)?

Financial Times – America: The Elephantine Problem
Most Americans have never heard of the Bureau of the Public Debt.

On the Bureau of Public Debt’s website there is a PayPal link and address where you can make a contribution to ‘reduce the public debt’ just in case you wanted to pitch in! (ed's note -- now how crazy is that?)

How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?

Related.

George Orwell – Shooting An Elephant
In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.

Related.

Guardian – Forget Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: Obama Needs a Challenge from the Left
Cast your minds back to November.

Martin Wolf continues to warn about the risks around Greek debt. The only good news is that it is known.

The Daily Ticker -- Greek Debt Crisis “An Absolute Nightmare,” Financial Time’s Wolf Says
Days after S&P's downgrade sent yields of Greek debt soaring, European officials are reportedly working on another bailout package for the debt-laden nation.

Related.

Economist – Greece and the Euro: Bailing the Bail Out
IT WAS a year ago that the European Union produced its big bazooka to quell the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis: a €750 billion fund to safeguard the single currency, following within days of the €110 billion bail-out of Greece.

 

Greek Snakes and Ladders

Japan contemplates its post-modern future.

New York Times – Japan Ponders Its New Normal
Its factory wiped out by the tsunami, a maker of vital parts for smartphones says it will move production overseas.

The Economist comments on a OECD studying comparing how member countries tax wages. The good news for Canada is that it is below the OECD average.

Economist – The State’s Take
DEATH and taxes, it is said, are the only two certainties in life.

Related.

OECD – Taxing Wages – Information by Country

Is spending on university worth it?

Slate – Is College a Rotten Investment?
Here's a familiar story.

The booming plastic surgery business in China.

Asia Sentinel – Getting Sexy in China
If heredity and genes don't get it for you, perhaps the scalpel will.

 

Related.

Want China Times -- Singer's Death Triggers Safety Concerns for China's Plastic Surgery Industry
In 2005, "Super Girl", a TV talent show in China, turned college student Li Yuchun into a nationwide celebrity, but few could remember another contestant Wang Bei until recently, when she died during plastic surgery.

Related.

Wall Street Journal -- Crouching Tiger, Hello Kitty
China plans a theme park to celebrate Hello Kitty, the cutesy cat with no mouth but a cult-like following.

What time is it?

Telegraph – The Strange Case of the Disappearing Day
In the desert to the west of Peru sits one of the world's oldest, largest and most accurate clocks.

 

Here we go.

Globe and Mail -- The arguments for and against Vancouver’s supervised injection site
When the Supreme Court of Canada convenes Thursday to consider Vancouver’s supervised injection site, it will hear detailed arguments that hinge on the fine print of the Canadian Constitution.

 

Globe and Mail – Anti-abortion Protesters Take to the Hill
Thousands of anti-abortion protesters are taking their case to Parliament Hill, but many long-time MP supporters will be missing from the crowd, thanks to turnover at the ballot box and the election break.

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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.