Smart Picks 20 September 2014

More like us. 

Foreign Affairs -- The End of Swedish Exceptionalism

Why the elections mark a new era for politics.

Quote: “From a sociological perspective, most of the people who used to vote for the Social Democrats -- blue-collar workers and the lower middle class -- now vote for the Sweden Democrats. They have found themselves on the losing side of a new globalized service and high-tech economy, and they have become politically alienated by what they think is a bundle of elitist political projects."


What I’m listening to. Handel's Water Music

The State and the market. 

Toronto Star -- Tastes great, but less filling now runs afoul of the law

A “Fairness at the Pumps” law aimed at ensuring pubs dispense a full pint of beer as advertised is regularly flouted, the Star’s tests find.

The good, the bad, the ugly, what they poured.

Firkin on Harbour 

Moosehead Lager, $6.81, 20 ounces

Two Bite Saloon 

Black Oak, $5, 16 ounces

Tilted Kilt 

Delirium, $7.30, 14 ounces

The Smith and Darwin debate. 

Farnam Street Blog -- The Darwin Economy – Why Smith’s Invisible Hand Breaks Down

In The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and The Common Good Robert H. Frank, an economics professor at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, takes on the debate of who was a better economist—Adam Smith or Charles Darwin.

Video (79 min really starts at 16.25) The Darwin Economy 

Death at 75. 

The Atlantic -- Why I Hope to Die at 75

An argument that society and families—and you—will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly.

Tell me about it. 

Economist -- Entrepreneurs anonymous

Instead of romanticising entrepreneurs people should understand how hard their lives can be.

Selfie and getting famous. 

New York Times Magazine -- Turning Microcelebrity Into a Big Business

In the bowels of the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., two D.J.s — Andrew Taggart (short, Ken-doll hair, cocky smile) and Alex Pall (tall, thick-rimmed glasses, cocky smile), known together as the Chainsmokers — were led down a hallway by a gaggle of people in lanyards, followed by their manager and the photographer who travels with them and documents their every move — for their future presidential library, I have to assume.

Guilty all. 

London Review of Books – Diary

‘You do not need to deliver the fatal blow or even be at the actual scene of the killing to be found guilty and sent to jail,’ Detective Inspector John McFarlane said after the conviction of 17 of the 20 young people jointly charged with the murder of 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden at Victoria Station in March 2010: ‘the law on joint enterprise is clear and unforgiving.’

Here we go again. 

Middle East Forum -- War against ISIS Headed for Failure

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat down in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, surrounded by the leaders of 10 Arab states, to build a coalition against Islamic State (ISIS), the scene dripped with irony.


The Diplomat -- Kissinger’s Order

Henry Kissinger’s new book World Order is a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in Asia, or foreign policy.


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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.