Smart Links 17 July 2011

Articles on the debt ceiling, the importance of Italy to the Euro (and us), Canadians taking on less debt, the dreadful impact of shrinking working age populations, innovation in Japan shifts to soft, Australia’s carbon plan, and Rebekah arrested.

Bi-partisan debt.

Washington Post – Thirty Years of the Debt Ceiling in One Graph
The one caveat to this graph is that the colors on the bar showing control of the House of Representatives look to be reversed.


The debt ceiling explained.

Los Angles Times – Just What is the Federal Debt Ceiling?
President Obama and Congress are tussling over how to strike a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. But what does the term 'debt ceiling' mean -- and what would happen if no deal is reached?

The debt ceiling.

In 1917, as the U.S. entered World War I, Congress authorized the Treasury to issue long-term bonds to finance the war, but placed a limit on the amount of debt that the government could issue. That limit, known as the debt ceiling, has been raised repeatedly -- and lowered a few times -- since then.

Italy’s debt scare and what it means.

Economist – On the Edge
FOR more than a year the euro zone’s debt drama has lurched from one nail-biting scene to another.

Smart Canadians.

Globe and Mail – Canadians Get the Message on Debt
Growth in consumer credit debt in Canada is no longer outpacing income, and is rising at its slowest pace in a decade.

Why Canada needs to grow its population to 60 million by 2050. (ed’s note – a growth rate consistent with the past) For our friend David in London.

Asia Times – Why We Will Be Poorer
No man is an island, especially in the markets.


Pdf below -- Productivity Briefing

Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin – The Decade from 2020 to 2030
What will the world after the babyboomers look like?

Japan goes soft on innovation, and it’s a good thing.

Economist – Innovation in Japan
“A SAMURAI would never write software!” barked a senior executive at one of Japan’s biggest electronics firms, as drinks flowed at a dinner party.

Australia’s bold carbon project.

East Asia Forum – Australia’s Carbon Price
Australia is going to put in place carbon pricing at a level on par with the European Union with a design that could make it a solid foundation for long term policy.


Clean Energy Future


Economist – An Expensive Gamble
A RARE moment of triumph settled on Julia Gillard, Australia’s prime minister, on July 10th when she unveiled a plan for a carbon tax to fight climate change.


Brookings -- An Australian Carbon Price Is Not Much Help if the World Can Call the Tune
Pricing carbon is essential to an Australian economy that is to become less carbon intensive over time.

Rebekah Woods arrested.

Financial Times – Police Arrest Rebekah Woods
Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking and corrupting police officers by News International staff, two days before she is due to be questioned by the Parliamentary culture media and sport committee.

Related. Thanks to David of London.

Spectator – What the Papers Won’t Say
Let’s try a thought experiment.

Cartoon Phone Hacking

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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.