Smart Links 24 May 2012

Commentary on how to buy happiness, India’s ID challenge, Japan’s blind spot, maybe devaluing the Euro can save it, silly state intervention, and where to draw the line.

Be happy.

New York Times -- The Right Way to Try to Buy Happiness
Money can’t buy happiness.

How India will create ID for everybody. Thanks to Jeremy of Tokyo.

BBC -- How can 1.2bn people be identified quickly?
With millions of people in India living in poverty, the government hopes that new technology behind the Aadhaar scheme will make it easier to help identify all those without official ID cards and struggling to receive assistance.

An old and terrible issue still haunts Korean-Japanese relations. Thanks to Ken of Tokyo/Hong Kong.

New York Times -- In New Jersey, Memorial for ‘Comfort Women’ Deepens Old Animosity
Two delegations of Japanese officials visited Palisades Park, N.J., this month with a request that took local administrators by surprise: The Japanese wanted a small monument removed from a public park.

A modest proposal to save the Euro.

Financial Times -- Devaluation – last option to save the euro
As debate about a Greek exit from the euro grows, the European crisis is reaching boiling point. There are three sources for the problems of Greece and other peripheral European nations.

The challenge of accommodation works in many directions. (ed’s note – not for the politically correct). Thanks to David of London.

Spectator -- I have come up with a way of disrupting all these mad employment tribunals
Rod Liddle says the case of Fata Lemes — a Muslim woman who claimed her dignity had been ‘violated’ by the dress she had to wear in a cocktail bar — is sadly typical of a crazy institutional structure that kowtows to every conceivable outraged sensibility.

Quote worth noting.

“The details of this case are a shade more nuanced than usual, because Fata is a Bosnian Muslim woman rather than a full-blown Hessian-sack-over-the-head, burn-the-infidel middle eastern or Indian subcontinent Muslim woman.”

We know how this will end.

Globe and Mail -- Ontario refuses to pay for blind boy's treatment in U.S.
Kristina Reid wishes this for her two-year-old son Liam: To see the mature trees that line their street, and his own blond curly hair – but mostly, to see his two older brothers, his father and her.


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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.