Preventing A Deluge, Russia's Economy, After the Bust, 99 Weeks, New Labour's Legacy, Lap Dancers, Speaking and Thinking

The threat of boat after boat after boat full of distressed human beings coming to Canada ahead of other refugees is a real and present danger to the country's compassion and well being. Getting the relevant Asian countries to sign the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees is one part of the solution to this problem.

The other better solution, as we have already noted, is to make the economic and criminal sanctions on those profiting from this trade in humans so overwhelmingly painful that they will not contemplate ever using Canada as a destination.

How Russia is reforming its energy dependent economy. The Reinharts warn that following a financial and economic shock of the magnitude of the 2007-2008 episode that the economy is so damaged that no amount of demand side stimulus will help, and in fact may hurt the recovery. Does extending unemployment benefits risk making unemployment worse not better? Some think so. Some not. A sympathetic reminder of what New Labour did.

The Bank Credit Analyst reduces US equity and raises US bond exposure while the Canadian Institute for Policy Alternatives warns that Canada's housing market is about to crack. The CD Howe Institute begs to differ.

It seems that in the United Kingdom that over a quarter of lap dancers have completed university. Why should this be surprising when the average pay is $400 a shift?

One of the most viewed and emailed articles from the New York Times' website is on the relationship between the language people speak and how they think. Does it matter?

Canada should use all tools at its disposal to end the risk of a refugee deluge including the diplomatic means discussed here. However, the simplest way is to make the possibility of making a profit from the business in human cargo shipments impossible.

First, any ship that enters Canadian territorial waters with say more than three people without valid passports will be impounded. Second, the captain and crew of that ship will be imprisoned indefinitely while it is determined whether these passengers are victims of human trafficking. Third, if these passengers are victims of human trafficking the captain and crew will be charged accordingly. Fourth, the ship will be scrapped. You get the message.

Eliminate the profit incentive and the problem of Canada being flooded by illegal refugees will disappear.

Sri Lankan Tamils in need of protection should not have to hide out for days in Bangkok safe houses, and pay $50,000 to smugglers to board a dilapidated fishing trawler to Canada.

Russian economic overhaul.

What happens when a global financial crunch forces a country to spend foreign reserves to pay bills, or when flames of a petroleum- and minerals-based economy start to flicker? Russia knows: Its government spent reserves to survive the financial crisis, and today it's busy preparing for the latter scenario by seeking alternatives to natural resource exports.

The Reinhart's on the permanent damage done from big financial and economic crises, and how what seemed the right way to repair may be wrong.

The landscape of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where central bankers gathered at their annual conference last week, is spectacular and forbidding.


Banks not lending.

After raising more than half a million pounds of fresh capital for an acquisition destined to transform his business, Ronel Lehmann was in a celebratory mood. But 24 hours later the London-based marketing executive had his festivities cut short when Barclays, his lender, severed his company’s access to credit, wiping out a £200,000 ($311,000, €244,000) overdraft and leaving him scrambling to pay suppliers and wages.

Canada's senior loan officers' survey. Pdf below.

The case against extending unemployment benefits.

Congressman John Boehner recently suggested that President Obama replace his top economic advisers. I think he may have a point. The economic "recovery" has been disappointing, to put it mildly, and it has become increasingly clear that the blame lies with the policies of the Obama administration, not with those of its predecessor.

The counter argument.

This article on the legacy of New Labour makes the point that in the United Kingdom, and by implication other high income democracies, that the left can only make itself electable by embracing the importance of the market to prosperity and liberty, and the right can only make itself electable by embracing the importance of the state to liberty and prosperity.

Maybe that's why the state grows in leaps and bounds doing little for prosperity while hurting liberty because neither the right or left stand for anything.

Gordon Brown’s poignant departure from 10 Downing Street on the evening of May 11 brought to mind Enoch Powell’s dictum that all political lives except those cut off prematurely end in failure.

The Bank Credit Analyst unwinds their early 2009 call reducing equity and increasing bond exposure.

We have been overweight risk assets relative to Treasurys and cash since early 2009, but it is time to take profits and scale back on risk exposure.


S&P 500 since September 2007


US 10-year bond yield since September 2007

Canada's looming housing bust.

Canada's Housing Bubble -- An Accident Waiting to Happen 


Pdf report below.

A different view.

Canada is unlikely to see a “massive wave of defaults” in the housing market as the market cools, the CD Howe Institute wrote in a report Wednesday.

The Independent reports a study of lap dancers in the United Kingdom finds that 25% have university educations and the average pay per shift is about $400. The only thing strange about this report is that anyone would find it surprising.

The first academic research project into lap dancing has found that, rather than being uneducated young women who have been coerced into the industry, one in four dancers has a degree and has been attracted by the money.


When you have time.

Seventy years ago, in 1940, a popular science magazine published a short article that set in motion one of the trendiest intellectual fads of the 20th century.

BOC Senior Officer's Loan Survey 2010 Q2.pdf136.22 KB
Canadas_Housing_Bubble.pdf1.03 MB
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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.