Smart Links 19 April 2012

Commentary on Sweden’s excellent finance minister, Spanish woes, Japanese engineers working in China, thoughts on China, America`s tax maze, inequality in America, and Canada`s white skinned judges.

Balancing the economy and social justice with good economics. Thanks to David of London.

Spectator -- Anders Borg: Europe's best finance minister
In the current issue of The Spectator I interview Sweden’s Anders Borg, perhaps the most successful conservative finance minister in the world — both in his economic track record, and the accompanying electoral success.


Financial Times – Ranking of Europe’s Best Finance Ministers

Spain in the firing line.

Financial Times -- Spain's struggle persists
Spain's bond yields have dipped back below 6 per cent but two problems linger - its housing bubble is yet to deflate and its austerity drive faces rough regional roads.

Go west young man. Thanks to Jeremy of Tokyo.

New York Times -- Japanese Engineers Find New Life in China
Their technical skills helped Japan’s corporate giants sweep all before them in the 1980s, and now thousands of aging Japanese engineers are finding a new lease on life in a booming China.

Our good friend Ken Courtis sets the record straight about Chinese currency revaluation. Thanks to John of Toronto. (ed’s note – starts at 3.00)

BNN – Interview with Ken Courtis

America’s tax mess.

New York Times – Coming Soon: Taxmageddon
ON Jan. 1 of next year, the federal tax bill for a typical middle-class household — making in the neighborhood of $50,000 — is scheduled to rise by about $1,750.

Debating inequality.

New Yorker -- Inequality 101: The Picket Fence and the Staircase
When a group of millionaires appear onstage with a Democratic President to call for higher taxes on people like them, you know one of two things: either the President is in Hollywood, or something interesting is happening in the country at large.


Very related.

Pdf below – The Myth of Increasing Income Inequality


PBS – Why Income Inequality is Good

Hopefully justice is blind.

Globe and Mail -- Of 100 new federally appointed judges 98 are white, Globe finds
In the past three and a half years, the federal government has appointed 100 new judges in provinces across the country – and 98 of them were white.





The Myth of Increasing Income Inequality.pdf539.31 KB
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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.