Smart Links 20 November 2012

Commentary on China and climate change, income inequality in the United States, Canadian energy tipping point, the positive impact of immigration on native education outcomes, and the joys of moss art.

Can China lead?

Financial Times -- Role reversal will slow climate change
Barack Obama’s choice of destination for his first post-election trip reflects his pivot to Asia. This potentially friction-laden strategy needs to be balanced by pursuing the opportunities for co-operation, especially in US-China relations.

More of the same on income inequality.

Globalist – The Rise of the Plutocrats
It has long been acceptable in the United States to celebrate the achievements of the super-rich — their great wealth, their mansions, their yachts.

Bond math.

Financial Times – Bond markets: A false sense of security
Investors seek perceived refuge in bonds but fears are rising that their faith has been ill-placed.

Canadian energy tipping point.

Economist -- The sands of grime
To become an energy giant, Canada needs capital, people and pipes.


Keeping up. -- The impact of immigration on the educational attainment of natives
Are poorly-educated immigrants’ kids dragging native classmates down?

The joys of moss art from Japan.

Japan Times -- Moss art: growing a masterpiece
What's green, fuzzy and has a starring role in Japan's national anthem?

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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.