Smart Links 18 February 2013

Commentary on investors positioning themselves for the legalization of cannabis, helping out those poor banks, the super-typhoon, Turkey looks east, robots and the middle class, worried about Peugeot, the difference between QE and OMF, and now there are more retirees than young people in Canada. And the Villagers.

Safe bet.

Economist -- The audacity of dope
A fund seeks opportunity in the weed.

A helping hand.

New York Times -- Don’t Blink, or You’ll Miss Another Bailout
MANY people became rightfully upset about bailouts given to big banks during the mortgage crisis.

Extreme weather in the Philippines.

Guardian -- Filipino super-typhoon an ominous warning of climate change impact
Philippines is having to adapt and adjust to rapidly deteriorating climatic trends at a great cost to its economy.

Trading up from Europe?

The National Interest -- Mr. Erdogan Goes to Shanghai
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an wants Turkey to join the European Union.

Same old story.

Quartz -- How robots are eating the last of America’s—and the world’s—traditional manufacturing jobs
Baxter, the affordable, humanoid industrial robot recently unveiled by Rethink Robotics, is so easy to program that I once did it one-handed and drunk.

Family ties.

Economist -- Running out of road
Another dire warning for Europe’s carmakers.

Not just splitting hairs.

Financial Times -- Helicopters can be dangerous
The FT recently called for a serious debate on the idea that budget deficits should be permanently monetised by the central banks.


“Both policies involve the purchase of government debt by central banks to finance budget deficits, using newly created bank reserves to finance the purchases [2]. The key difference is that in the case of QE, the bonds are (in theory) only parked temporarily at the central bank, while under OMF the purchases are never intended to be reversed. This means that the increase in the monetary base is temporary in the case of QE, and permanent in the case of OMF.”

Ageing Canada.

Globe and Mail – Retiree’s Set to Outnumber Canada’s Youth for the First Time
For as long as statistics have been kept in this country, the number of young people entering the work force has always exceeded the number nearing retirement.

As some street cred. Thanks to David of London.

Villagers - The Waves (Official Video)


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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.