Smart Links 24 April 2012

Commentary on generational greed, the unnecessary war, getting smarter, inequality, Chinese cracks, and Michael Ignatieff on Quebec and Scottish nationalism.

Are we too selfish to take care of our parents? Thanks to David of London.

Spectator -- Thankless children
Rod Liddle says that the real problem with our aging population is that we are too selfish and greedy to look after them.

youtube – When I’m Sixty Four

The great waste. Thanks to Tony of Victoria.

Korea Times -- Afghanistan lies
In the midst of the Taliban attacks in central Kabul on Sunday, a journalist called the British embassy for a comment.

Getting smarter requires a lot of things including being interested. Thanks to David of Victoria.

New York Times -- Can You Make Yourself Smarter?
Early on a drab afternoon in January, a dozen third graders from the working-class suburb of Chicago Heights, Ill., burst into the Mac Lab on the ground floor of Washington-McKinley School in a blur of blue pants, blue vests and white shirts.

The inequality fight.

New York Times -- The Fight Over Inequality
The headline promised an article of critical importance: “Obama’s inequality argument just utterly collapsed.”

What the Bo Xilai demotion tells us about China.

New Yorker – China’s Crisis
his was to be a year of tidy political theatre for the Chinese Communist Party, capped by the scripted handoff of power from nine senior apparatchiks to a new generation.

He’s back. (ed’s note – comments on Quebec around 5.30 and the prediction of separation around 8.00). -- Quebec headed for independence, Ignatieff tells U.K. broadcaster
Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says Quebec "eventually" will become an independent country and that a victory for Scottish separatists in an expected 2014 referendum will launch a new effort by Quebec nationalists to fulfil their sovereignist dream.



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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.