Smart Picks 12 October 2014

Why Tennessee Williams was special, and the price he paid. 

New York Review of Books -- The Outsider Art of Tennessee

Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh: John Lahr’s subtitle for his biography of Tennessee Williams nimbly fuses madness, spiritual quest, and sexuality in one inextricable formulation.

What I’m listening to. Adam's Lullaby - Natacha Atlas 

Narrowing sectors spells trouble. 

Bloomberg -- U.S. Stocks Erase the Years Best Rally: What’s Next?

Stocks fell around the world, and oil extended declines after entering a bear market on mounting concern that global economic growth is slowing.


Reformed Broker -- Why did the stock market plummet today?

Why did the stock market plummet more than 330 points today?


Project Syndicate -- China’s Balancing Act

China’s slowdown is the biggest short-term threat to global growth. Industrial value added fell in August, credit growth has slowed dramatically, and housing prices are falling, with sales down 20% year on year. Given stagnation in the eurozone and Japan’s uncertain prospects, a Chinese hard landing would be a big hit to global demand.

Looking across the channel. 

Telegraph -- How did France get it so wrong?

As France's economy stagnates under Francois Hollande's socialist government, there are fears that Ed Miliband would repeat his mistakes if he won power.

Ah Winston. 

Telegraph -- Boris Johnson: the woman who made Winston Churchill

In an extract from a new book about the wartime leader, Churchill's nanny emerges as the moral guide who taught him to be good, kind and, by and large, truthful.

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking his nurse's arms. 

Not like us. 

New York Times -- Getting Real About China

Wesley Clark: To Manage China, Fix America First.


Economist -- The gay divide

Victories for gay rights in some parts of the world have provoked a backlash elsewhere.

F**k off. 

Financial Times -- Memoirs: John Lydon, Vivienne Westwood

The alchemy of punk was shortlived but potent, as books by two of its pioneers reveal.

Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen 

Vivienne Westwood in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti 


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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.