Smart Links 07 October 2012

Commentary on how politics invented marketing, the sanctions bite, dumb office words, why Hollande’s left wing economics will kill the French economy, Naomi Wolf’s dubious science, and the Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth.

“Mummy, what happens what your country gets cut off from the global economy and can’t trade with the rest of the world?”

The Atlantic -- How Does a Currency Drop 60% in 8 Days? Just Ask Iran
In case you were wondering, this is what an economy dying looks like.


The Agenda with Steve Paikin – The Currency Market

What came first.

New Yorker – The Lie Factory
How politics became a business.

Reaching out.

Office Life -- The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary
Do you wonder where your co-workers picked up all the ridiculous things they say?

How do you say ‘economic depression’ au francaise?

Telegraph -- Another domino falls as Hollande pushes France into depression
If French President François Hollande thinks he can assuage the bond markets by dishing out tax-heavy austerity instead of genuine reform, he has been given very bad advice.

Just in case you’re asked.

Project Syndicate – The Vagina Chronicles
Has there really been a sexual revolution?

Another point of view.

New York Review of Books -- Pride and Prejudice
Forty-one years after Germaine Greer issued her infamous directive, the ladies seem to have complied.

The Pacific Opera Victoria's version of Verdi’s Macbeth opened in Victoria for the first of five shows last night.

Times Colonist – Macbeth Goes Italian Operatic

As a devotee of Shakespeare’s tragedies (I listen to them for a few minutes on my i-pod most days to improve my public speaking) watching the movement of such Shakespeare’s magical words to music is never easy because so much of the dramatic tension is lost.

For example, the critical admission by Macbeth that he slew Duncan’s two bodyguards because he claimed they were the murderers is cut out as well as all the maneuvering among the players in the court when the King is slain.

Also the opera calls for a large group of thugs (better for the harmony I suppose) to ambush Banquo and his son but the play requires that the son get away, which seems implausible. Shakespeare managed it by only having two murderders.

But that aside the Pacific Opera Victoria always puts on a wonderful show and this one is no different.


Please go and support local, world class theatre.


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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.