Smart Links 17 February 2013

Commentary on hallucinations, the wealth fixation, working at Amazon UK, stuck on nuclear, and some sparks flew.

Don’t worry you’ve got company. (ed’s note – for those who haven’t hallucinated the experience is a little like a fulsome dream only without the excuse that you were asleep).

Times Literary Supplement -- Oliver Sacks on drugs
Until the French psychiatrist Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol gave them their current name, hallucinations – seeing or hearing things that are not there – were called “apparitions”.

America wasn’t always about wealth.

Boston Review -- Before Greed: Americans Didn’t Always Yearn for Riches
Speaking in New Haven in 1860, Abraham Lincoln told an audience, “I am not ashamed to confess that 25 years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat—just what might happen to any poor man’s son.”

Get a move on.

Financial Times -- Amazon unpacked
The online giant is creating thousands of UK jobs, so why are some employees less than happy?


(ed’s note – When was 16 a friend’s Dad who was a manager at a Canadian Tire store in Scarborough offered us a once a week job unloading big trucks of goods. Our supervisor was a skinny guy in his early twenties who harangued us to ‘get a move on, get a move on’ in a kind of hysterical way which neither my friend or I was prepared to do. I always wondered what made this undernourished, chain smoking guy insist on doing something so fast that probably could have been done a lot slower. Of course now I now, fear. That was the end of my career at the Tire.)

Japan’s nuclear problem (can’t live with it, can’t live without it).

National Journal -- Why Japan Can't Quit Nuclear Power
Since the Fukushima meltdown, the country has tried to reduce its reliance on nuclear reactors. But with nearly a third of its energy needs powered by the atom, change is difficult.

Commentary on the debate.

CTV – Trudeau Attacked On Privileged Background at Liberal Debate
The Liberal leadership candidates took turns at perceived front runner Justin Trudeau during the third debate Saturday, with Martha Hall Findlay raising the issue of “class” and his privileged background.


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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.