Smart Links 15 January 2013

Commentary on the slow death of the two state solution, the perils of the sunk cost, how do you say smog in Mandarian, weak France, the importance of the sacred, and speaking of sacred hockey's new players in Canada.

Where is this going to lead? Thanks to Ken of Tokyo/Hong Kong.

Bloomberg -- Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’
Shortly after the United Nations General Assembly voted in late November to upgrade the status of the Palestinians, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that it would advance plans to establish a settlement in an area of the West Bank known as E-1, and that it would build 3,000 additional housing units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Piling on.

Financial Times -- Netanyahu: tactical genius, strategic idiot
The Israeli prime minister must answer the big questions about his country’s future.


New Yorker -- The Party Faithful
The settlers move to annex the West Bank—and Israeli politics.

Sunk.

New Yorker -- That Sunk-Cost Feeling
After a farcical 2012 season, in which the New York Jets invented ever new ways to lose games (thus the “butt fumble”), the team’s general manager, offensive coördinator, and quarterback coach are all gone. Yet Mark Sanchez, the starting quarterback, remains.

 

The Butt Fumble 

Beijing’s lack lungs.

Economist -- Beijing's air pollution
Blackest day.

France at the edge.

Charlie Fell – The French Question
France has been in the spotlight in recent weeks, after a number of high-profile reports that cast a critical eye on the economy’s long-term growth prospects.

The sacred in social.

Guardian -- Emile Durkheim: religion – the very idea, part 6: do we need the sacred?
Modern societies are no longer tribes organised around a sacred vision but the sacred and the profane are still relevant.

 

National Post -- Hockey’s changing face: Immigrants, women swell ranks of adults lacing up for the first time
Garfield Richards stands behind the glass, waiting and watching. He is about to participate in the most Canadian of rituals: a game of hockey.

 

 

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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.