Smart Links 05 February 2012

Commentary on the end of NATO involvement in Afghanistan, on the ground in Taliban country, Canada’s need to diversify its trading partners, a call to make angel investing more democratic, the Prudent Bear bemoans the reflation of the risk bubble, and bears getting bullish.

Thankfully the United States comes to its senses and is leaving Afghanistan. (ed’s note – recalibrating the need to spend the defence dollars in Asia no doubt).  Thanks to Ken of Tokyo/Hong Kong.

Independent -- The death of the American dream in Afghanistan
A devastating leaked Nato report shows the extent of US failure, as the Taliban prepare for the occupying forces to leave.

From the horse’s mouth.

Charlie Rose -- Tom Donilon is the National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration

Retreating from a historical perspective.

Economist -- The spectre of comparisons
Attempts to accelerate the drawdown of Western troops in Afghanistan are tempting but misguided.

The hard road. Thanks to Charley of Toronto.

New York Times – The Hard Way Out of Afghanistan
For years, in the village of Juz Ghoray, at the remote fringes of the Musa Qala District in northern Helmand Province, the Taliban enjoyed free rein, collecting taxes from local poppy farmers and staging attacks on any foreign patrol that moved within shooting range of an abrupt desert prominence called Ugly Hill.

TD Economics on the shift in Canada’s exports away from the United States.

Pdf below – Canada, Where to Grow From Here

The case for reducing barriers to invest in start ups in British Columbia. Thanks to Steve of Vancouver.

Mike Volker – Capital Prohibitions
The BC Securities Commission is reviewing two regulations that permit entrepreneurs to raise money for their companies.

Doug Noland of Prudent Bear fame bemoans the reflation of the risk trade.

Prudent Bear – Price Instability
Chairman Bernanke was forthcoming yesterday when he stated that loose monetary policy distorts the economy and leads to inflationary pressures.  I’ll contend that the world would today be a safer place if “easy money” in fact always led to inflationary pressures. 

Related.

Bloomberg -- Global Strategists Are Abandoning Bearish Views
Strategists at the biggest banks are capitulating on their bearish forecasts after the best start to a year for global stocks since 1994 and gains of more than 7 percent in emerging-market currencies.

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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.