Smart Picks 22 September 2012

Commentary on China`s lousy demographics, worrying markets, sex and the brain, China and Japan butt heads, Afghan dead end, the problem with politics, and a victory for sex workers.

Aging China.

soberlook.com -- China's shifting demographics and their impact
China's changing demographics now pose risks to global economic output for the simple reason that the nation is currently responsible for about 40% of world's GDP growth.

Troubling trends. Thanks to Russ of Victoria.

Pdf below -- The Rundown 21 September 2012

The science of sex and the brain.

Atlantic -- How Orgasms Shut Down Our Brains
In their latest short video, web series ASAP Science explains what happens to your mind and body during sex. Images from MRI scans reveal that while orgasms have a similar impact on brain activity in men and women, the effects are more pronounced in women because their orgasms tend to last longer.

Silly spat.

Economist -- Could Asia really go to war over these?
The bickering over islands is a serious threat to the region’s peace and prosperity.

Time to leave.

Financial Times -- Time to be honest about Afghanistan
More than 50 US and British soldiers have been killed by their Afghan partners this year. The attacks have been described as Taliban infiltration of the police, which could be addressed by better vetting. But the very words “Taliban”, “police”, and “vetting” are misleading.

Are political parties.

Telegraph -- Our politics is bursting with life – it’s the parties that are dying
There is no shortage of support for the right causes, but our leaders do not address them.

Bad laws are dangerous.

National Post -- Vancouver sex workers’ federal prostitution-law challenge can go ahead: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Vancouver sex workers can proceed with a legal challenge of the country’s prostitution laws.

 

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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.