Liberalism’s Fight, Left Behind, Brexit Battles, Autism, The Sharing Economy (Not!), Bitcom Futures

What I’m listening to. (ed’s note -- our local neighbourhood choir)

Advent Hymn: Conditor alme siderum

Religions, Marxism and Fascism have in common the faith in the Grand Idea, an overarching narrative that they have ‘history on their side’ to such an extent that they can impose their will on others who do not share their point of view inside and outside the boundaries of their own countries. This includes incarceration and mass murder. This is the essential difference with liberals, who have not taken their belief in their own Idea -- that given the opportunity people on the whole will try to make a better life for themselves and society has an obligation to help them do just that -- to the same end point that these other competing narratives have, continue to do, and will if given the chance. Running up deficits is a lot different that a running up a body count.

Can Liberalism Survive?

New York Times -- The Death of Liberalism

Liberalism is dead. Or at least it is on the ropes. Triumphant a quarter-century ago, when liberal democracy appeared to have prevailed definitively over the totalitarian utopias that exacted such a toll in blood, it is now under siege from without and within.

Biting the hand.

Telegraph -- The left’s favourite fetish is whipping the wealthy

Panama-gate, the umpteen million-page indictment of VIP capitalism, the mother leak of venal oligreed and bespoke morality, slid off the nation’s eyeballs pretty damn fast. What was that all about? This was billed as the story that would run and run, the tipping point, the match in the powder keg. Here was the auditor’s chapter and verse, the smoking gun proving the innate, institutional, ingrained unfairness of the neoliberal free market.

Quote -- “The real pity and fury in the country is the plight of the poor, not the wealth of the rich. It’s the cost of childcare, inner-city rents, transport and secure jobs.”

You Can’t Have It Both Ways

Times -- Brexit’s happy morons don’t give a damn about the costs of leaving

When I was a little boy, my mother liked to quote the following quatrain (sometimes attributed to the New York wit Dorothy Parker): “See the happy moron, / He doesn’t give a damn, / I wish I were a moron, / My God! Perhaps I am!”

Bang Goes The Drum

Telegraph -- Britain faces 'economic rupture' if we leave EU, says Government

Britain is facing an “economic rupture” that will bring misery to millions of people if the country votes to leave the EU, the Government warns.

Scourge (ed's note -- I've wondered if autism isn't evidence that our species is evolving in a new direction, brains that specialize in profound ways.)

Economist -- Spectrum shift

Children in the rich world are far more likely to be diagnosed with autism than in the past. Why is this and what can be done to help them lead fulfilling lives?

Enough already.

New Republic -- The Verizon Strike Signals a Larger Economic Battle

As profits increasingly flow to the top, workers have had enough.

Will Bitcom change our world?

London Review of Books -- When Bitcoin Grows Up

It’s impossible to discuss new developments in money without thinking for a moment about what money is. 

 

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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.