Smart Links 04 March 2013

Commentary on the importance of income inequality, the alcohol taboo, the Johnson-Kennedy hate on, no more Britannica, and scandals engulf Canada.

Reaching for the stars.

Forbes  -- The Life Enhancing, Unrelenting Brilliance of Income Inequality
If there’s one thing that’s certain about media coverage of periods when a Republican is in the White House, it’s that copious amounts of ink will be spilled decrying “rising levels of income inequality” that allegedly threaten our economic health.


New York Magazine -- Look Out, Wall Street: The Goldman Sachs Partners Ball Is Back
One of the lesser-known casualties of the financial crisis was the disappearance of Goldman Sachs's partner dinners — the lavish black-tie galas that drew all the members of Goldman's elite partnership together for a night of revelry.


Economist -- Companies’ moral compasses
Some ideas for restoring faith in firms.

Guns sure but not booze.

Guardian -- The Sunday Blues: Some US states don't seem to realize Prohibition is over
80 years after Prohibition, many states still restrict when and where adults buy alcohol.

They really, really hated each other, and both won and lost.

New York Review of Books -- America’s Nastiest Blood Feud
Robert Caro’s epic biography of Lyndon Johnson—this is the fourth volume of a planned five—was originally conceived and has been largely executed as a study of power. But this volume has been overtaken by a more pressing theme. It is a study in hate.

New business model.

Harvard Business Review -- Encyclopædia Britannica's President on Killing Off a 244-Year-Old Product
By the time Britannica’s top management decided to stop producing bound sets of the iconic encyclopedia, the company had made sweeping changes to put itself at the forefront of the online education market.

Scandal land.

National Post -- Ethnic vote scandal ‘dashes’ B.C. Liberals May election hopes
B.C. premier Christy Clark was forced to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday afternoon as a scandal involving a leaked plan to woo ethnic voters threatened the Liberals’ re-election hopes — and prompted calls from members of her own party for the embattled premier to resign.

National Post -- Ex-Harper strategist explains controversial child-pornography comments
Brief comments I recently made at the University of Lethbridge about child pornography have brought down a storm of criticism on my head.

National Post -- Former spy watchdog Arthur Porter wanted for alleged multimillion-dollar fraud
Arthur Porter was a one-man charm offensive.

National Post -- There’s clearly a huge problem’: As four senators face expense audit
An internal Senate investigation has failed to turn up any questionable housing allowance claims beyond those previously unearthed by journalists.



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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.