Smart Links 26 August 2012

Commentary on Japan and the New West, market recoveries, staying in school, the root of legitimate rape, and Neil Armstrong dies.

Thinking about a New West, and Japan’s place in it. Thanks to Charley in Toronto.

American Interest -- Rising Sun in the New West
In many ways the policy of Japan is the weathervane of international politics.


Market Recoveries

New York Times -- Off the Charts: Few Have Recovered
Only three countries other than the United States — Mexico, Singapore and Sweden — have regained all the ground they lost when world stock markets plunged during the financial crisis of 2007-9. The chart shows the performance of 30 markets as measured by MSCI indexes, and of the MSCI All Country World Index, which includes all markets MSCI classifies as developed or emerging.

Despite the spin, staying in school improves your chance of employment.

Atlantic -- America May Have Too Many College Graduates
There's no question that, in today's economy, you are better off with a college education than you are without one. The unemployment rate for grads is lower, and their wages are higher, as are their chances of advancing to a management job.

Only witches float.

Atlantic – A Canard That Will Not Die: 'Legitimate Rape' Doesn't Cause Pregnancy
Republicans have been getting in trouble for asserting this since at least 1988 -- but anti-abortion politicians keep hauling out this old idea for a reason.

Globe and Mail -- Rape controversy in U.S. mirrors teachings of anti-abortion hero
Eric Scheidler was in grade school when he was introduced to the power of John Willke’s persuasion.

Financial Times -- Abortion returns as an American election issue
The Republican party, like all political parties, is not monolithic; it is a coalition of people who may or may not agree with each other on many issues but are willing to support each other on those the others care about for mutual benefit.

Defining rape.

National Post -- Hard words: Do we know what we’re talking about when we talk about rape?
Some people have taken to calling this the Summer of Rape.

Legitimate Rape Song

‘One step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind’.

Globe and Mail -- Famous lost word in Neil Armstrong's ‘mankind' quote
Neil Armstrong's first words from the moon were heard all over Earth …

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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.