Smart Picks 09 February 2013

Commentary on Britain’s breakdown, China-Japan tensions, evil king fascination, how understanding politics makes good policy harder, makin sents, and the death of Keystone.

In-sourcing leaders.

Telegraph -- It’s Britain that is in need of overseas aid
Don’t stop at the Bank of England – most of our institutions could do with a foreign touch.

Related. (ed’s note – does it taste better?)

Scotsman -- Leaders: Public must have faith in what they are eating
WHEN concerns about food – that it may not be what it says on the label or could be contaminated – are raised, people expect that swift action should be taken to fix the problem within a matter of days.

Media frenzy.

Spectator -- ‘Murdoch betrays everyone in the end’
When journalists can’t protect their sources, everyone’s worse off.

Too close for comfort.

Economist -- Locked on
The dangerous dance around disputed islets is becoming ever more worrying.

Evil lingers.

Financial Times -- Richard III, a king in Machiavellian mode
The twisted cynic of literary legend is still irresistible five centuries on.

'Now is the winter of our discontent'

How to break the back of the ‘vested interests’ and do the smart thing. (ed’s note – US gun control, Canadian health care)

Project Syndicate – The Tyranny of Political Economy
There was a time when we economists steered clear of politics.

????? (ed’s note – reminds me of my first time in Scotland)

Guardian -- Children and language: Taalk propa? Hadaway wi ye
Am a rita, and A kno the commin langwij cums from the hart an sole, and must neva be forgot.


Globe and Mail – Is Keystone XL Obama’s Line in the Sand
Here are President Barack Obama’s words from his second inaugural address: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Thence followed 10 sentences about climate change.

My Desert -- XL Keystone Pipeline’s Construction in Serious Doubt
The Trans-Canada-Keystone XL oil pipeline’s eventual construction may never see the light of day, according to reliable U.S. officials who revealed this opinion under the guise of anonymity.


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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.