Smart Links 25 July 2011

Articles on Joi Ito, the fallacy of the market driven society, stressed mothers hurt unborn children, Middle East democracy, disposing the remains of an old Nazi, Vietnam’s geography problem, if the US defaults, and why elephants are doomed.

Innovation by necessity is disruptive. Meet Joi Ito and Media Lab

Financial Times – Unlikely Leader Finds Creativity in Chaos
With a battered Leica M9 digital camera slung around his neck, ever ready to take a photograph, the floppy-haired Joi Ito looks younger than his 45 years.

Related. How the New York Times saved itself in the age of the internet.

New York – The Kingdom and the Paywall
Two weeks ago, I went to the New York Times’ gleaming, modernist, Renzo Piano–designed headquarters on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan to discuss some good financial news with Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s publisher and the chairman of the New York Times Company.

Quote worth quoting.

“The Times has taken a do-or-die stand for hard-core, boots-on-the-ground journalism, for earnest civic purpose, for the primacy of content creators over aggregators, and has brought itself back from the precipice.”

Right and left.

Telegraph – I’m Starting to Think that the Left Might Actually Be Right
It has taken me more than 30 years as a journalist to ask myself this question, but this week I find that I must: is the Left right after all?


New York Times -- Rude Britannia

Stressful pregnancies.

Economist – Baby Blues
RESEARCHERS have known for years that children whose mothers were chronically stressed during pregnancy—by famine, anxiety, the death of a relative or marital discord, for instance—show higher-than-normal rates of various psychological and behavioural disorders when they are adults.

Not all revolutions are created equal.

Stanford -- Democracy Is Not Assured by Revolutions in the Arab World
Arab nations rocked by popular uprisings in recent months face complex, precarious, and often divergent paths toward establishing democracy, says Stanford democracy expert Larry Diamond.

Spreading the remains of Rudolf Hess.

Weekly Standard – Disposal of the Deputy Fuhrer
Earlier this week, as reported first in Süddeutsche Zeitung, the remains of Rudolf Hess were disinterred from a Protestant cemetery in Wunsiedel, Bavaria.

Vietnam has Poland’s geography problem.

Diplomat – Vietnam’s Geography Problem
Some researchers liken China to a rooster, with Korea as its beak and Vietnam its leg.


And Canada?

Toronto Star – The Cost of Freer Trade
Before Sept. 11, 2001, Canada and the United States liked to brag that the line on the map between them denoted the longest undefended border in the world.

Thinking the unthinkable.

Slate – What if the Government Defaults?
Ordinarily, one might expect House Republicans to blink at this stage of negotiations with the Obama administration over the federal government's debt ceiling.


Atlantic – If We Don’t Raise the Debt Ceiling
Debt ceiling politics is complicated.


New Yorker -- Smash the Ceiling

The end of elephants.

Vanity Fair – Agony and Ivory
Another carcass has been found.


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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.