Smart Links 17 May 2012

Commentary on China's real estate meltdown, India’s corrupt economy, Armenia’s heavy legacies, reforming British welfare, art and life, Gaga and Indonesia, and Mulcair’s cracks.

China breaking.

An American Perspective from China -- China Real Estate Unravels
As a prelude to a broader analysis of China’s GDP, and the accuracy of its official GDP figures, I want to start by examining the national real estate statistics for the first four months of 2012.

Indian economy still serving vested interests after all these years.

Financial Times -- India’s growth threatened by old abuses
During a recent breakfast with an investor visiting Mumbai from a large western fund, the conversation quickly turned to the question of the moment: what ails India?

The weight of history.

New York Review of Books -- Armenia Survives!
Depending on which figures you look at, Armenia’s population hovers around three million people.

Reforming welfare, the long battle.

Telegraph -- Getting to grips with the nation’s welfare
Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are welcome but we need to go further.

Quote worth quoting.

“Over the coming years, the country will need to think long and hard about the future of welfare, and how to return it to Beveridge’s ideal of a system based on need, rather than demand.”

Finding redemption in the saddest places.

Economist -- Enacting forgiveness and redemption
IT IS painfully hot and dry in the rodeo arena at Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in America.

Lady Gaga’s sold out concert refused permit by government because it will corrupt morality. (ed’s note – just what are they thinking?)

Asia Sentinel -- Lady Gaga Meets Radical Islam in Jakarta
A decision by Indonesian national police to ban a sold-out June 3 performance in Jakarta by the American pop star Lady Gaga, which has already sold a whopping 52,000 tickets, has pushed the country’s laid-back urbanites into outrage at the country’s thin crust of Islamic militants.



Tom’s cracks.

Maclean’s -- Tom Mulcair and the Tar Messengers
One obvious response to Tom Mulcair’s remarks about the Western premiers — apparently they are Stephen Harper’s “messengers” — is concern.







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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.