Smart Links 16 January 2013

Commentary on the portrayal of aging, Dark Zero 30 torture debate, how Albert Speer’s cooperation saved his neck and reputation, women at work, can the US manage itself, and surviving on Bay Street.

Oh well …

New York Review of Books -- A Masterpiece You Might Not Want to See
Michael Haneke’s Amour is the ultimate horror film. With its portrayal of the shocks, the cruelties and indignities to which old age and disease subject a happily married Parisian couple, it’s far scarier and more disturbing than Hitchcock’s Psycho, Kubrick’s The Shining, or Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, and like those films, it stays with you long after you might have chosen to forget it.

The torture debate in DZ30.

Los Angeles Times -- Kathryn Bigelow addresses 'Zero Dark Thirty' torture criticism
'Zero Dark Thirty' director Kathryn Bigelow answers criticism of the film's depiction of torture, which she says does not equal endorsement of the tactics.

 

New York Review of Books -- Disturbing’ & ‘Misleading’
It is not unusual for filmmakers to try to inject authenticity into a movie’s first frames by flashing onscreen words such as “based on real events.”

Fascinating discussion of how the Allies were charmed by Albert Speer.

Smithsonian Magazine -- The Candor and Lies of Nazi Officer Albert Speer
On April 30, 1945, as Soviet troops fought toward the Reich Chancellery in Berlin in street-to-street combat, Adolf Hitler put a gun to his head and fired.

 

Public policy and women in the work place.

Washington Post -- Why the U.S. has a lower rate of working women than Europe does
For many years, the United States outperformed most of the developed world in women’s  workforce participation. Indeed, in 1990, only five countries  — Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Canada — had higher labor force participation rates among women.

 

Unmanageable?

Telegraph -- US risks AAA over runaway debts as 'political' dangers rise in Europe 
Fitch Ratings has threatened to strip the United States of its AAA credit rating if Congress and the White House indulge in a fresh stand-off over the debt ceiling or fail to agree on a credible austerity package.

More on the rich theme.

Globe and Mail – Just Because I Work On Bay Street Doesn’t Mean I’m Rich
As I was walking home from work recently, a woman on the street stopped me.

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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.