Smart Picks 23 September 2014

On the outside looking in. 

LATimes -- Census data on poverty show results of economic policy gone wrong

The headline number in last week's release of Census Bureau data on poverty was pretty good.


What I’m listening to. Bach Air on the G string Orchestral Suite No.3 in D major, BWV1068 

The geography of death. 

Global Post -- This map shows which disease is most likely to kill you depending on where you live

Using data from the World Health Organization, we labeled every country in the world with the disease that caused the most deaths within the nation.

The combination of a tired global hegemon and a rising regional superpower anxious to erase a few centuries of humiliation is a lousy combination, and the South China Sea is battle ground. 

BBC -- Bill Hayton interview on BBC World about South China Sea disputes


The South China Sea: Troubled Waters 


Prospect Magazine -- China’s false memory syndrome

The whole nation has been incorrectly taught that Chinese people discovered and named the South China Sea's islands 

40 Thieves?

Alhambra Partners -- Open Sesame

Open Sesame is, of course, the phrase used by Ali Baba to open the 40 thieves’ cave and plunder their riches in the Arabian Nights tale.

Getting the crowd into it. 

New Yorker -- The Wisdom of the Crowd

“Don’t follow leaders,” the bard of Hibbing once advised. “Watch the parking meters,” he added—whatever that meant.


Police attack crowd chanting "This is not a riot" at G20 Summit

Democracy Not.  Thanks to David of London.

National Post -- Andrew Coyne: Scotland’s referendum was no exercise in democracy for Quebec to follow

In the wake of the Scottish referendum …

Navigating New York’s subway system. 

Guardian -- New York’s subway is so hellish, I’m homesick for London’s underground

I am a city girl, accustomed to negotiating public transport, but faced with MTA’s needlessly complex map and messy signage, I become an overawed simpleton.


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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.