Smart Links 20 August 2012

Commentary on Beveridge’s children, why the classroom matters, and the looming food crisis.

A wonderful rant. Thanks to David of London.

Independent -- A state-maintained feral underclass celebrated its culture with drugs, alcohol and comas
You can look on the recent horrors of Phoenix Park as a purely Irish phenomenon, or you can see them in their wider context.

Related. (ed’s note – was 1980 really that far away …)

Telegraph – A message from the 1970s on state spending
"We used to think you could spend your way out of recession and increase employment by boosting government spending,” boomed the Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, at the 1976 Labour Party conference.

Meanwhile in a depressed neighbourhood in Chicago.

New York Times -- What Does Obama Really Believe In?
From the back seat of Steve Gates’s white Pontiac, Monique Robbins spotted Jasmine Coleman walking home from school alone.

Don’t teach until you can see the whites of their eyes. Thanks to Rick of Toronto.

Globe and Mail -- There’s no online substitute for a real university classroom
You hear a lot of talk about how universities and teachers are expensive dinosaurs and how the future of teaching lies online.

Quote worth quoting.

“Still, don’t mistake what’s better than nothing for what’s best.”

Buy your steak and pork now.

Christian Science Monitor -- Alarms sound over world food supply as drought wilts US Corn Belt
The US government on Friday slashed estimates for global food supply as a deepening drought withers corn and soybean crops in America's heartland. 'Scary situation,' one analyst says.

Quote worth noting.

“The hottest July on record in the Lower 48 and scant rainfall have created the widest US drought since 1956, wiping out much of the corn and soybean crops, which are used globally and domestically for food, feed, and ethanol production.”

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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.