Smart Picks 08 October 2014

Awesomely excited. 

Aeon -- Super excited

Does relentless enthusiasm really help the world, or should generation TED learn to take a more sceptical view?

What I’m listening to. Handel -- Glory to God from the Messiah 

So much to worry about, so little time. 

Telegraph -- The ten biggest threats to the global economy

Is the IMF right to think there is only a 1% chance of a global recession over the next year?

Great pics of British slum life. 

Guardian -- Laughter in the slums: the best work of street photographer Shirley Baker – in pictures

Shirley Baker, who died recently, documented everyday life in the UK with a fond eye, turning prosaic scenes in slums and seasides into quietly romantic images. Here is a selection of her finest work.

Related. 

New York Times -- Forty Portraits in Forty Years

We just can’t know. 

Motley Fool -- "I Have No Idea"

In his book The Quest of the Simple Life, William Dawson tells the story of an exam at a 19th century London prep school. One question asked was, "Give some account of the life of Mary, the mother of our Lord."

Editor’s note: But we can guess.

Making clean coal in Saskatchewan. 

Scientific American -- Clean Coal Era Begins

On October 2, the Boundary Dam power plant in Saskatchewan became the first full-sized coal-fired boiler to capture the copious carbon dioxide that had previously billowed from its smokestack, preventing the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere.

Car, drive me home. 

McKinsey -- What’s driving the connected car

New technologies are transforming the automotive sector, with major implications for industry players and consumers alike.

Will I die, horribly? 

New York Times -- Life, Death and Grim Routine Fill the Day at a Liberian Ebola Clinic

The dirt road winds and dips, passes through a rubber plantation and arrives up a hill, near the grounds of an old leper colony.

The right to choose. 

Washington Post -- Cancer patient Brittany Maynard, 29, has scheduled her death for Nov. 1

Brittany Maynard carries a prescription in her wallet.

Boom, bust, boom, bust, boom … 

Financial Times -- We are trapped in a cycle of credit booms

The eurozone seems to be waiting for the Godot of global demand to float it off into debt sustainability.

Quote: “These credit booms did not come out of nowhere. They are the outcome of the policies adopted to sustain demand as previous bubbles collapsed, usually elsewhere in the world economy. That is what has happened to China. We need to escape from this grim and apparently relentless cycle. But for now, we have made a Faustian bargain with private sector-driven credit booms. A great deal more trouble surely lies ahead.”

Related. 

Centre for Economic Policy Research -- Deleveraging, What Deleveraging?

It is widely accepted that high levels of debt (of various forms) have played a central role in the 2008-09 global financial crisis, the 2010-12 euro crisis and many previous crisis episodes. The adverse macroeconomic impact of deleveraging also helps to explain the slow pace of recovery among the advanced economies in recent years, while the post-2009 surge in debt accumulation in a number of emerging markets (especially China) raises the prospect of a new wave of debt-related crises unless corrective policies are implemented.

Related. 

New York Review of Books -- Why Weren’t Alarm Bells Ringing?

Almost nobody predicted the immense economic crisis that overtook the United States and Europe in 2008.

LimeSpot

 

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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.