Smart Links 06 May 2012

Commentary on who should set interest rates, America’s 21st century depression, Euro crisis deepens, Big Mac and economics, and the Justin frenzy.

Ron Paul versus Paul Krugman.

Bloomberg – Paul versus Paul
Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul talk about inflation, monetary policy and the role of the Federal Reserve.


Ludwig von Mises Institute -- A Century of Failure: Why It's Time to Consider Replacing the Fed
Presented by George Selgin at the Mises Circle at Furman University: "The Coming Currency Crisis and the Downfall of the Dollar."

Demand decline.

Fiscal Times -- All Signs Point To Lost Decade: Krugman and Summers
Amid new signs that Europe is in a double-dip recession and U.S. job growth is faltering, two of the leading macroeconomists of their generation warned Wednesday – in two separate events – that the domestic economy appears headed for a lost decade marred by high unemployment, sluggish growth and rising inequality.

Heading back to 60% because of an underinvestment in primary and secondary education.

From austerity to what?

Telegraph -- The euro crisis just got a whole lot worse
With Europe plunging back into recession and unemployment soaring, Francois Hollande, the French presidential candidate, is calling for growth objectives to be reprioritised over the chemotherapy of austerity.

Big Mac Ph.D. (Economics – Global)

Atlantic -- Big Maconomics: How McDonald's Explains the World
The Big Mac isn't just a greasy hallmark of modern technological wizardry. It's also a tool for economists to measure the wealth of nations.


Economist -- Iconic angst
IN 1895, the year Edvard Munch created "The Scream", the Norwegian artist was so poor that debt collectors entered his studio and carried away his easel in lieu of a small debt of 25 marks.

With the NDP leadership campaign out of the way ending with the mature decision to pick Thomas (Tom) Mulcair, the media have turned their attention on the Liberals. Normally a third party relegated to rag tag status with just over 10% of the seats in a majority Parliament (eg. you don’t matter) and with functioning riding associations in only about 35% of the country would not get this kind of attention. However, this is about the potential denouement of one of the great political parties of the 20th century whose leaders’ names represent great swaths of Canadian history.

And it so happens that one of the potential leadership candidates is ridiculously good looking, accomplished in the things he has chosen to be successful in, bilingual, has a photogenic family, and has a brand name last name.

For the media, always looking to fill up that empty page, the Justin Trudeau frenzy has begun, whether he wants it (he says he doesn’t), is afraid it will destroy his family (he should know), and isn’t really ready (he probably isn’t).

Beware saviors. Better to win slowly.

Toronto Star -- Hébert: Is Justin Trudeau the Liberals’ salvation?
With polls showing that the NDP under Thomas Mulcair is establishing itself as the alternative to the Conservatives and with a leadership campaign about to get officially underway, more and more Liberals are looking for a Hail Mary pass.


Macleans -- Justin Trudeau should be the next leader of the Liberal Party. No, seriously.
If this guy’s name was Joe Smith, the notion that Liberals might turn to him would be a no-brainer.






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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.