Smart Picks 03 October 2014

Those wonderful unequal outcomes.

Forbes -- Finding Alibaba: How Jerry Yang Made The Most Lucrative Bet In Silicon Valley History

Jerry Yang is giving a quick tour of the conference room at his private investment firm in Palo Alto, Calif.

What I’m listening to. J. S. Bach - Aria & Gavotte from Cantata, 'Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten' BWV 202 

How capitalism makes the unnecessary necessary. (And why we love it)

The Atlantic -- 'Like Lingerie for Men': How Statement Socks Became So Trendy

Blame Nike. Or ancient Egypt. Either way, socks are becoming the new neckties.

ON the hook in Kabul. 

New York Times -- Paying Afghanistan’s Bills

By the end of the year, Congress will have appropriated more money for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, when adjusted for inflation, than the United States spent rebuilding 16 European nations after World War II under the Marshall Plan.

In the Middle East keep the bottoms of your shoes to yourself, in China a limp handshake will do quite nicely.

New York Times -- Decoding Etiquette in China, Handshakes to Meals

It’s a heck of a story: how Eden Collinsworth, an American publishing executive, became the Dale Carnegie of China.

Could you go away please. 

Washington Post -- 28 words that Democrats really wish President Obama didn’t say today

President Obama was at Northwestern University on Thursday to deliver an economic speech that, he and his team hoped, would lay out the case for why the public is better off today than they were six years ago -- even if they didn't feel it in their everyday lives.

… and now the apology, France isn’t falling apart, or was he telling the truth ...

Telegraph -- ‘France is sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat’ says John Lewis boss

Retailer’s most senior executive quips that Gare du Nord is ‘the squalor pit of Europe’ after visiting the capital.

In praise of museums. 

Telegraph -- 21 reasons why museums are great

A staunch defence of Britain's museums has earned one reader a pair of flights to Romania.

Under assault. 

Financial Times -- Banks are being attacked on all fronts

They must clean up their act as competition arrives in droves.

Boring Ed. 

Economist -- The dreary world of Ed Miliband

The Labour leader flunks one of his last opportunities to look like a worthy prime minister.

Quote: “Yet most Britons, even members of the hard-working “squeezed middle” whose problems he aptly describes, are suspicious of an agenda that appears hostile to free enterprise and personal responsibility, the intellectual foundation of every administration they have elected for 35 years.

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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.