Smart Links 24 August 2012

Commentary on unascending American blacks, the zombie Euro, China’s neurosis, America`s job machine needs tending, badly taught economics, the Bank of Japan`s China warning, and the return of the toothache with pus.

A powerful summary of what America blacks have been and will likely be up against.

American Interest -- The Last Compromise
Many hoped that the election of the first African-American President of the United States meant a decisive turn in the long and troubled history of race relations in the United States.

Mercifully spared Euro talk for most of the summer, the fall looks like a the 39th sequel of ‘The Zombie Currency’.

Pdf below -- Euro Is Already a Zombie Currency


Night of the Living Dead

How come we didn't win the most medals? (ed’s note – and what’s your problem?)

Economist -- China, Olympic victim?
The London Olympics revealed some of the insecurity plaguing a confident, rising China.

Stuck. Time to provide some oil.

Financial Times -- The US labour market doesn’t work
A quarter of a century ago, the US workforce was a wonder.

Why economics doesn`t work.

Project Syndicate -- Economics in Denial
In an exasperated outburst, just before he left the presidency of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet complained that, “as a policymaker during the crisis, I found the available [economic and financial] models of limited help. In fact, I would go further: in the face of the crisis, we felt abandoned by conventional tools.”


Telegraph -- Science and the roots of faith
Steve Jones explains why men, scientists, professors and the British are less likely to believe in God than women, children and Americans.


National Post -- Hands up if you’re running for President and believe in God
Publicly professing faith in God is one of those rituals of American elections that flummoxes a lot of people outside the U.S., Canadians not the least among them.

The Chinese resisted pressure from the United States to allow a sharp rise in their currency because of the 1980`s example of Japan. Now the Bank of Japan reminds China of the dangers of a property bubble and deteriorating demographics.

Telegraph -- China bubble in 'danger zone' -- Bank of Japan
China risks a repeat of Japan’s boom-bust disaster 20 years ago as exorbitant property prices combine with a demographic tipping point, a top Japanese official has warned.

Pauline Marois is undemocratic. (ed's note -- and racist?)

National Post -- Pauline Marois’ assaults on democratic values
Given the close scrutiny that surrounded the recent Alberta election, it is somewhat surprising that more attention is not being paid to the genuinely alarming things coming out of the mouth of Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois.


Lest we forget

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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.