In the Market We Trust, Wealthy Getting Wealthy, Charter Rights, New Boom, The Next 350 Years, Naughty Canada, Johnny Boy

Here, just a tiny bit of salmonella with that chicken burger?

News that the US Senate easily passed a sweeping food safety law reminds us -- again -- of the question of the role of the state in regulating the marketplace, as well as our lives everyday or otherwise.

With the breakdown of the global financial system and the impact on the global economy this question has gained new urgency.

Food and investment banks can sadly, both kill. And so can the state. (ed's note -- the state is a beast).

Articles on regulation, rich Canadians, Canada's Charter of Rights, the new internet bubble, the Royal Society's 350th birthday, frightening news that Canadians find Americans a tad rambunctious, and why all those John Lennon 70th birthday anniversary books are boring.

Washington Post -- Senate Passes Sweeping Food Safety Bill   The Senate on Tuesday approved the biggest overhaul to the nation's food safety laws since the 1930s.

How the bill works.

PBS -- A Look at the Long-Awaited Food Safety Bill   In response to the approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year due to foodborne illnesses, the Senate finally passed the nation’s first food safety bill.

The moral hazard argument. Let companies monitor themselves and force consumers to be more careful? Give the state the mandate to monitor companies and lull consumers into a false sense of security?

Let the market decide.

Freeman -- Milton Friedman is to Blame for Unsafe Food?   There is a “food safety crisis” in America and Milton Friedman is to blame, Princeton University economist Paul Krugman wrote on the New York Times.

Let the state regulate.

New York Times -- Fear of Eating   Yesterday I did something risky: I ate a salad.

So what about financial markets?

New York Times -- Too Big To Succeed   THE world has experienced a severe financial crisis and economic recession.

So what about steering the market to develop better environmentally friendly technologies?

East Asia Forum -- Climate Change Policies in Japan   Japan’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the 1990 base year to 2007 have been increasing en route to achieving the 2008-12 Kyoto Protocol target of 6 per cent reduction.

Opps.

Scientific American -- BioFuels Are Bad for Feeding People and Combating Climate Change   Converting corn to ethanol in Iowa not only leads to clearing more of the Amazonian rainforest, researchers report in a pair of new studies in Science, but also would do little to slow global warming—and often make it worse.

All mixed up.

Economist -- The Future of Biofuels: The Post-Alcohol World   MAKE something people want to buy at a price they can afford. Hardly a revolutionary business strategy, but one that the American biofuels industry has, to date, eschewed.

Wealthy Canadians should be celebrated. How they are taxed ought to depend on how they made it.

Globe and Mail -- The Rich Are Really Getting Richer  The super rich are, in one respect, not that different from ordinary Canadians: they work for their money. It’s just that they’re rewarded at a rate most people only dream of.

Those pesky human rights.

Telegraph Journal -- How the Charter Undermined Canadian Democracy   Down the homestretch in the campaign for the Nov. 29 byelection in the federal riding of Vaughan, the Liberal Party trotted out father of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms Pierre Trudeau's son to attack Conservative candidate Julian Fantino.

 

Welcome to Toronto

 

Steve Paikin -- G20 Wrap Up -- A Rough Weekend for Democracy   With apologies to the leaders of the Group of 20 countries, the biggest story this past weekend was what happened to democracy in Ontario's capital city.

The new internet boom is passing you by.

Financial Times -- Dotcom Boom's Shower of Gold Passes Wall Street By   For internet investors, it’s 1997 all over again – only this time, the stakes are much higher. That’s according to Mary Meeker, the Morgan Stanley internet analyst who presided during the heyday of the dotcoms. There’s just one catch: getting in on the ground floor is not as easy as it used to be.

Celebrating the Royal Society's 350th birthday with some more questions.

Guardian -- Ten Questions Science Must Answer    Today we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society. It signalled the emergence of a new breed of people – described by Francis Bacon as "merchants of light". They sought to understand the world by experiment and observation, rather than by reading ancient texts.

WikiLeaks exposes what Canadians think about America !! 

Breaking news: highly paid US diplomats stationed in Canada report that 'Canada feels inferior to the United States' and their media spins -- including the C.B.C. (!) -- negative stories about the US. (ed's note -- stop reading the Toronto Star).

New York Times -- U.S. Diplomats Noted Canadian Mistrust  In early 2008, American diplomats stationed in Ottawa turned on their television sets and were aghast: there was an “onslaught” of Canadian shows depicting “nefarious American officials carrying out equally nefarious deeds in Canada,” from planning to bomb Quebec to stealing Canadian water supplies.

This highly insightful commentary falls into a different type of wiki leaks.

Sad news that with age John Lennon in the mind of biographers has become more and more mellow. Too bad since what made him the perfect foil to Paul McCartney's eager to please routine was that Lennon could be a real pain in the ass.

New York Review of Books -- John Lennon: Bull In Search of a China Shop  When the Beatles called on Elvis at his rented Bel Air mansion in August 1965, the odds of a pleasant evening were always going to be long.

 

Richard Burton -- Look Back In Anger

 

Happiness is a Warm Gun

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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.