Smart Links 19 February 2013

Commentary on Japan’s equity market bounce, dressing down, Ireland’s child benefit controversy, hold up Hitch, checking out of Kabul, and the conservative view of Justin.

Prime Minister ABE as in ‘Awesomely Bullish Equities’.

Financial Times -- Abe needs to show he can walk the talk
There are many reasons to be optimistic about Japan’s equity run.


Nikkei -- Japan Must Stress Need For Anti-Deflation Drive
Finance ministers and cental bank governors from the Group of 20 major nations wrapped up their two-day meeting in Moscow on Saturday.

Austria’s controversial nude male exhibition.

Independent -- Making an exhibition of themselves: Nudes check out nudes at Austrian museum
Visitors to a special after-hours showing of an exhibition based on the theme of “naked men” were encouraged yesterday to shed their clothes.

Death by a thousand cuts.

Independent Ireland -- Squeezed middle-income families will 'suffer most' under new child-benefit plan
HIGH earners will suffer less than middle-income families under proposed changes to child benefit, an expert report has found.


Child and Family Income Report


The F Word -- Caring and living in poverty
Suzanna, a lesbian and single mother, currently on benefits, talks to Anastasia Richardson about the effects of poverty.

Still making waves.

New Statesman -- Reviewed: Unhitched - the Trial of Christopher Hitchens by Richard Seymour
George Eaton reviews an embittered, polemical take on the late writer's life.


Weekly Standard -- The Afghan Endgame
President Obama’s decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise.

What the conservatives are saying. (ed’s note – be careful what you wish for)

National Post -- Drunk on Trudeau, Liberals prepare to forget reform and hand
Sorry to be the one who has to deliver the news folks, but the Liberal party has fallen off the wagon.

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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.