Smart Links 06 January 2013

Commentary on bad IMF math, rail travel in the UK, Jared Diamond’s love of nature, rape in India, down on your luck learn how to pickpocket, and living in the Arctic.

Actually austerity makes things worse, sorry.

Washington Post -- IMF: Austerity is much worse for the economy than we thought
Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund made a striking admission in its new World Economic Outlook.

If it is bad in the UK imagine what it is like in Canada.

Guardian -- Premium rail product? That's the early morning smell of a stranger's armpit
Rail minister Norman Baker insists that fares are fairly fair. He must be one of those paragons who books online, months in advance.

Get natural but without the widow strangling.

Guardian -- Jared Diamond: what we can learn from tribal life
The west's dwindling connection with the natural world puts it in increasing peril, says the distinguished anthropologist in his new book. Many of the practices of tribal cultures can help us to rediscover our way, he argues – from respecting the environment to letting toddlers play with knives.

When I read that the medical student in India who was raped by six men required that all her intestines be removed in an operation to save her life I could not imagine why. As I kept reading it become evident what had been done to her in the course of being raped that would require that type of surgery. Nightmarish. Will this rape break the silence?

Financial Times -- India: A flicker of hope
Protests against last month’s fatal sex attack have forced Delhi to respond to male violence.

Project Syndicate -- Ending India’s Rape Culture
The crime seems incomprehensible.

BBC -- India rape: Name my daughter, says victim's father
The father of an Indian woman who was gang-raped in Delhi and later died says her name should be made public so she can serve as an inspiration to other victims of sexual crimes.

Pick a pick a pocket or two.

New Yorker -- Video: The Art of Pickpocketing

New Yorker -- A Pickpocket’s Tale
The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins.

Oliver! - You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or two

From France to frigid. (ed's note -- that 75% tax rate must really be biting ...)

National Post -- French Family trades brie and baguettes for a cozy nook in the Canadian Arctic
French geophysicist Eric Brossier does not remember a singular, crystallizing moment, when he consciously resolved to lead an unconventional life.



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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.