Smart Picks 07 October 2014

It’s all about balance. 

Telegraph -- Want a more equal society? Build more houses and cut taxes

You can't solve inequality by calling on the government to take money from the rich through higher taxes. It is far more effective to remove the obstacles to creating wealth.

What I’m listening to. Bach -- Sonata for Solo Violin No.1 in G minor BWV 1001 

Take out. 

New Yorker -- The Kitchen Network

America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers.

Getting along. 

Economist -- Islam and other religions

How many scriptures?

Opps, I told the truth dear. 

New York Times -- Joe Biden Apologizes for Telling the Truth

It used to be that lying got politicians into trouble. For Vice President Joe Biden; it’s truth-telling that causes a stir.

Killing vultures. 

Boston Review -- The Vultures of Wall Street

The financial firms that prey on sovereign debt.


Guardian -- Were we happier in the stone age?

Does modern life make us happy? We have gained much but we have lost a great deal too. Are humans better suited to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle?

Editor’s note: No, we weren’t.

Australia turns the screws on itself. 

Washington Post -- How Australia just became a ‘national security state’

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had some “regrettable” news.


Sydney Morning Herald -- National security laws: the questions you were too nervous to ask in case ASIO was listening

Parliament this week adopted new national security laws.

Quote. “When will it all end?” a Sydney Morning Herald opinion column asked. “Will these national securities laws ever be repealed? Probably never. The ‘war on terrorism’ appears endless. … The national security state is empowered, cashed-up and here to stay.”

Australia gone wild.

A Cry in the Dark 

‘Dingo got my baby’.

And the coming financial collapse. 

National Post -- The next big crisis? Think 2008, only worse

Ever wondered when the next financial crisis will be? Possibly in just a couple of years with the “coming collapse of the international monetary system.”

Editor’s note – Paid to be 100% memorable and 51% right.

The Coming Stock Market Crash and The Death of Money with Jim Rickards 


Financial Post -- Albert Edwards says investors should watch the Japanese yen and be very afraid

The Japanese yen goes into freefall. China’s fragile economy tips over the edge.

Public investment, the common good, and the economy. 

Financial Times -- Why public investment really is a free lunch

The IMF finds that a dollar of spending increases output by nearly $3.



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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.