Smart Links 05 February 2013

Commentary on the shadow of 1914, comic genius, rising stock market, the joy of capitalism, recovery in the US housing market, New York’s fight over teacher evaluation, Australia in Asia, and how the smoking ban killed bingo.

More history.


Financial Times -- The shadow of 1914 falls over the Pacific
China, like Germany 100 years ago, fears the established power is intent on blocking its ascent.

Harold Ramis.

Brett Martin Features -- Harold Ramis Gets the Last Laugh
What is there to say about Harold Ramis’s status as an icon that a game of Ramis Roulette can’t say more succinctly?

Enjoy the ride while it lasts …

Why capitalism matters, and why it needs help.

Slate -- Why Capitalism?
The one book on Wall Street you haven’t read—but should: William Janeway, Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State.


‘Janeway, who built the technology investment team of Warburg Pincus, has a powerful message: an innovative economy “begins with discovery and culminates in speculation”. Unfashionably, he insists that the state plays a central role in the innovative economy, as a source of funding for infrastructure and research and as a guarantor of stability when financial speculation ends in disaster, as it tends to do.- -- Martin Wolf, FT

TD Economics bullish on US housing.

TD Economics – Is the US Housing Market Recovery Sustainable?
Some of the most positive signs in the US economy over the past year have come from the housing sector.


New York Review of Books -- Holding Education Hostage
For weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have been battling over the issue of teacher evaluation.

Australia finds a home.

East Asia Forum -- Australia’s closeness to Asia
The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper said that for Australia, ‘The tyranny of distance is being replaced by the prospects of proximity’. It is true that Australia is in the right place at the right time. Australia’s neighbourhood is the most dynamic growth centre in the global economy.

Up in smoke.

National Post -- Despite loyal customers, Toronto’s once thriving bingo halls struggling to stay open
It is almost 1 p.m. inside Delta Bingo, where the tangerine glow of a neon Super Jackpot sign mixes with blue and purple walls.

Noted: OECD Better Life Index

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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.