The Robin Hood State, Restoring the Middle Class, Out on a Limb, Women, Can I Have Two, China’s Global Reach

What I’m listening to.

Carl Orff - Carmina Burana: O Fortuna

A good job is not enough to have a middle class life. What is required is a collective investment in justice, education, health and transportation. It’s time to recast the role of the state accordingly.

London Review of Books -- Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity

Myth is a story that can be retold by anyone, with infinite variation, and still be recognisable as itself.

Quote -- “With a bit of money in the bank, a middle-class family might choose to send their child to private school, provided by the market; but that same family can’t choose to build and maintain a universal education network by itself, and the market won’t provide it. With money, you can choose to buy a car, and the market will provide it; but you can’t choose, all by yourself, to build and maintain a universal road network, and the market won’t provide it. To make and keep universal networks requires the authority of the state, an authority that has been absent; and it’s hard to see where that authority might come from if the people don’t find a way to assert their kingship.”


Globe and Mail -- How can the world’s vanishing middle class escape an economic trap?

Incomes are stagnating, housing prices are on the rise and millions of people once on the cusp of stability are losing ground. 

... and now for something completely different.

Toronto Star - Meet the United Church minister who came out as an atheist

Rev. Gretta Vosper, a longtime Scarborough minister, is leading the United Church of Canada to test the limits of its famously progressive views.

Using an old trick to hurt women.

New York Times -- Do Women Need Legislative ‘Protection’?

In September 1905, a laundress named Emma Gotcher reported Curt Muller, the owner of Portland Grand Laundry, for making her work more than 10 hours — the state’s legal limit for women — on, of all days, Labor Day.

Nuts time in London.

Financial Times -- London garage sells for £360k at auction

Garage in Chelsea sells for double its estimate in latest sign of London’s sky high property prices.

Big ambition.

Nikkei -- AIIB chief reveals global ambitions

The China-backed Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank's global reach could eventually extend as far as Africa and Latin America, the fledgling lender's president-designate told a conference here Monday.


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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.