Smart Links 14 December 2012

Commentary on climate change and melting poles, the history of global GDP in one chart, the Fed’s new framework, survival Euro, why the minimum wage is good, and squaring the foreign investment circle in Canada.

Guardian -- Greenland and Antarctica 'have lost four trillion tonnes of ice' in 20 years
More than 4 trillon tonnes of ice from Greenland and Antarctica has melted in the past 20 years and flowed into the oceans, pushing up sea levels, according to a study that provides the best measure to date of the effect climate change is having on the earth's biggest ice sheets.

Related.

Guardian -- Polar ice sheets melting - in pictures
Ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica are melting three times faster today than they were in the 1990s, according to a 'definitive' study of satellite data.

Global GDP 2,000,000 – present.

Uber Fed watcher Greg Ip on what guides the Fed.

Economist -- The mandate is willing but the tools are weak
Low inflation and full employment have been statutory goals of the Federal Reserve since 1977, but its officials always felt more comfortable with the first than the second.

Thick skinned Euro, and it needs to be.

Telegraph -- False hope springs eternal in the eurozone
It’s remarkable that the single currency has survived – but the worst is far from over.

On purely mathematical grounds the minimum wage should reduce employment and is therefore bad but there is more to economics than math. Thanks to Pat of Victoria for keeping me on top of this issue.

Economist -- The argument in the floor
Evidence is mounting that moderate minimum wages can do more good than harm.

 

Muddled.

Economist -- Thus far but no further
A big Chinese deal may be the last.

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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.