Inequality Choice, Rex and Marie, Gig Economy, UK’s Living Wage, Ethnographic Inflation, Japan’s Bad News, No Savings Please

What I’m listening to.

J.S. Bach: Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, BWV 1041 - 2. Andante

More on inequality.

Economist -- The new wave

Surprisingly little is known about the causes of inequality. A Serbian-American economist proposes an interesting theory.

(ed’s comment -- Innovation, trade and globalization are great disruptors of the economy, politics, society and culture. Inequality is not cyclical but structural; it is not a consequence of economic change but political choice. The OECD's work on inter-generational mobility proves that capitalism is what you make of it, and the evidence is that the United States and the United Kingdom, with worst in class outcomes, are making a mess of it. The market is the engine of wealth and the state of opportunity. Inequality is not about economic cycles, it is about making the right political choices ensuring that the economy serves our social goals and values, making us a master of the economy and not its servant.)

Rex on Marie.

CBC -- Rex Murphy | Marie Henein Interview

Point of View: "Did defence counsel Marie Henein 'owe' women anything in the Ghomeshi case? No. Not a thing." says Rex.

No ticket to ride.

New York Times -- With ‘Gigs’ Instead of Jobs, Workers Bear New Burdens

If you believe the Silicon Valley sloganeers, we are in a “gig economy,” where work consists of a series of short-term jobs coordinated through a mobile app. That, anyway, is both the prediction of tech executives and futurists and the great fear of labor activists.

The UK’s living wage.

Financial Times -- The UK's new living wage explained

On April 1, Britain will impose a new minimum wage rate, known as the 'national living wage'. The FT's Sarah O'Connor explains three things you need to know about the change and how it measures up to similar pay policies around the world.

Understanding inflation requires more than input from just economists.

Financial Times -- The inflation enigma needs unorthodox answers

What we need is not just economic analysis of price trends but on-the-ground ethnographic analysis.

Ethnographic -- def. ‘is the systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study.’

Where are your arrows now?

Times -- Investors flee as Japan loses confidence in itself

Japanese shares fell sharply today after a survey revealing the biggest fall in business confidence for three years, increasing the chances that Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, will be forced to change his plans for economic rejuvenation.

Spending for a rainy day.

Telegraph -- Britain is a nation that has forgotten how to save

For those of us who worry more about Britain’s “other deficit” than the continued shortfall in the public finances (which is the deficit the Government likes to target), there was truly shocking news on Thursday.

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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.