Smart Links – 15 June 2011

Articles on Apple’s retailing philosophy, Chinese demographics and inflation, Brazil’s economy, Europe’s migration problem and a great Canadian immigrant, the wonderful unintended consequences of the biotech revolution, a thoughtful examination of America’s fiscal challenges, 11 reasons why the stock market is a very serious buy, and why prostitution should be decriminalized.

China’s Japan problem

Financial Times – How China Could Fail Like Japan
Until 1990, Japan was the most successful large economy in the world.


The anatomy of an Apple Store and why it gets your loyalty then your money.

Wall Street Journal – Secrets From Apple’s Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity
Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world's most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone.

Quote worth quoting.

“More people now visit Apple's 326 stores in a single quarter than the 60 million who visited Walt Disney Co.'s four biggest theme parks last year, according to data from Apple and the Themed Entertainment Association.”


Globe and Mail – Tired of Rude Salespeople? Get In Line
A few months ago, I dashed into a neighbourhood deli to pick up a few things, leaving my husband waiting in a running car with our two impatient toddlers.

The numbers behind China’s demographic fault lines.

Economist Intelligence Unit – Politically Charged Demographics
China was officially home to 1.34bn people on November 1st 2010, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, according the latest results of the 2010 population census.

China ups the pressure on inflation.

New York Times – China Steps Up Campaign to Fight Inflation
China stepped up its campaign to combat rising inflation and restrain the sizzling pace of economic growth Tuesday by further restricting lending at the nation’s banks after government data showed inflation remained persistently high in May.


A good explanation of how Brazil’s economy differs from the Asian savings-investment-model.

Deutsche Bank – Why Brazil is Both Catching Up and Falling Behind
Brazil’s medium-term economic prospects underpinned by solid fundamentals, favourable demographics and strategic natural resource exports are bright.

Europe can’t talk about immigration.

Financial Times – Fortress Europe: Immigration
At an austere army barracks in southern Malta that serves as a detention centre for illegal immigrants, Abdur Rahman, a young Somali, describes the turbulent journey that took him almost 5,000km from the Horn of Africa to the smallest country in the European Union.

A great Canadian who happens to be an immigrant. Thanks to David of Victoria for sending this in. (ed’s note – I made a presentation to Peter in 1996 and after he asked me what I thought about the outlook for gold. I let him tell me)

Pdf below – Our World Needs More Peter Munks

From the 6th tee to 9th tee yesterday my golf playing partners Mike and Mark were kind enough to discuss my four pillars of a successful investment strategy. They are: an overarching long term story, daily data mining, living the data, and understanding disruptive technologies. John Mauldin’s piece on biotech falls into the fourth category. Thanks to David of Victoria for sending this in.

Pdf below -- Biotech and the Unintended Consequences of Moore's Law

This Brookings Report concludes that any real advance in balancing America’s books will require tax increases and spending cuts. Easier written than done.

Pdf below -- Reforming Taxes and Raising Revenue: Part of the Fiscal Solution


Investor Place – 11 Reasons Stocks Will Surge Back Soon
Things have been bleak on Wall Street lately, and many investors are wondering if they should call it quits.

Decriminalise prostitution.

Globe and Mail – On Prostitution, the Government’s Case is Weak
When the federal government argues that there is no constitutional right to be a prostitute, it misses the point of a case that could lead to the decriminalization of prostitution.

A Postal Strike

Wente- Our world needs more Peter Munks.pdf243.76 KB
Mauldin - Outside The Box - Biotech and the Unintended Consequences of Moore's Law.pdf97.08 KB
Reforming Taxes and Raising Revenue.pdf175.1 KB
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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.