Smart Links 22 February 2013

Commentary on the two Americas, snow, legalisation, civil war, US dollar renaissance, and the Canadian slowdown.

The Roosevelt and Regan Republics and why $15 a week matters.

New Yorker -- The Walmart Test: Payroll Taxes and the Social Contract
If you were to write a social history of America through the story of business, what would be the most significant companies in the years since the Second World War?

“Currently, 20 percent of the population of the US are under winter weather warnings.” (ed’s note – Phoenix has had more snow delays this winter than Victoria, BC, one to zero)

Atlantic -- Incredible Pictures of the Big Snowy Mess That Is the Midwest
It's snow season in America, and although the East Coast has been hogging all the weather-attention this year, the Midwest put Blizzard Nemo to shame on Thursday.

Sentiment rising.

Economist -- The great experiment
At last, drug prohibition is being challenged by fresh thinking.

Jumping in.

London Review of Books -- How to Start a Battalion (in Five Easy Lessons)
In the cramped living room of a run-down flat near the Aleppo frontline, two Syrian rebels sat opposite each other.

Beijing buying.

Telegraph -- China loves the US dollar again as America roars back
China’s central bank has radically revised its view of US economic and strategic power, predicting that the dollar will remain the world’s paramount reserve currency for decades to come.

Related.

Financial Times -- Weaker pound is welcome but no panacea
The challenge is to connect monetary and fiscal policy to promote demand while enhancing supply.

Is Canada in a recession?

Financial Post -- Royal Bank joins TD bracing for loan slowdown
Canada’s banks, recognized as the world’s strongest after a year of record profits and rising share prices, will begin to show the effects of a slackening in domestic consumer lending when they report first-quarter results next week.


 

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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.