Turkish Delight, Rule of Law Not Men, Lehman's Shadow, Rewriting History, Renminbi Blues, New Unemployables, Voices

What could possibly be wrong with constitutional changes that firmly puts the military under civilian control? For some, if that civilian control has deep Islamic roots, and the military has been equated with secularisation.

For us, and most balanced Western commentary however, the news that voters in Turkey gave strong backing to a package of changes to the country's military-era constitution was greeted warmly particularly since it moved Turkey's constitution closer to what would be required to join the EC.

Turkish delight.

How Prime Minister Reçep Tayyip Erdogan* uses the new powers that come with this vote to play a constructive role in the international system and create a successful Turkish civil society remains to be seen. What will matter is Turkey's national interest in its relations with difficult neighbours like Iran and ultimately decisions about education and opportunity for all the country's citizens.

*  http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/e/recep_tayyip_erdogan/index.html?inline=nyt-per 

The Financial Times.

Sunday’s vote in favour of constitutional reform was a double victory for Turkey’s prime minister, Reçep Tayyip Erdogan. First, because the vote had become a referendum on his Justice and Development party (AKP) as much as on reforming the constitution inherited from a coup in 1980. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d9649206-bf6a-11df-965a-00144feab49a.html

The New York Times.

Turkish voters approved a sweeping package of constitutional reforms by a wide margin on Sunday, handing a major victory to the Islamist-rooted government that continued the country’s inexorable shift in power away from the secular Westernized elite that has governed modern Turkey for most of its history.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/world/europe/13turkey.html?_r=2&src=me&ref=world

The Economist.

TURKEY’S mildly Islamist Justice and Development (AK) party has won a ringing endorsement from voters in a bitterly contested referendum on constitutional changes that are poised to raise democratic standards and further erode the powers of the country’s once omnipotent generals.   http://economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2010/09/turkeys_constitutional_referendum&fsrc=nwl

The Washington Post.

Turks approved sweeping changes to their military-era constitution Sunday - a referendum hailed by the government as a leap toward full democracy in line with its troubled bid to join the European Union.   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/12/AR2010091200948_pf.html

 


Fears about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's multiple messages. I guess that is the challenge in our one-bite news cycle.

"Damn, you are hard to pigeon hole!"

Journalist and author Fareed Zakaria has made some grave accusations against those who oppose the building of the Islamic center near Ground Zero, and has predicated his own approval of the project on the moderateness of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Zakaria wrote that Abdul Rauf “has said one or two things about American foreign policy that strike me as overly critical — but it’s stuff you could read on The Huffington Post any day.”   http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/246268/one-imam-multiple-messages-ibn-warraq?page=1

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative has an interesting insight into the difference between the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada. The latter conducts monetary policy based on rule the former celebrity. The results speak for themselves confirming again that all Central Banks are not created equally (investors beware).

The Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve - Rules versus Discretion  http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2010/09/the-bank-of-canada-and-the-fed.html

Cited is an important article by Henry Simons -- Pdf below -- detailing the importance of the rule of law over personality required by a free enterprise economy.

For those of you in or visiting Toronto the Rotman Centre's speaker series is full of interesting people http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/events/default.asp. Worth a look.

This all segues nicely to news that the OECD's once every 18 months survey of Canada was released today -- Pdf below.

The issues facing Canada cited by the report including high household debt, a secular slowdown in growth, lack of competition in highly regulated sectors, some provincial fiscal imprudence, and the challenge of reining in spending on health will hardly come as a surprise to anyone that pays any attention to Canada.

The good news is that these are manageable problems unlike some of the issues facing our NAFTA partners the United States and Mexico that actually threatens their futures.

Economic Survey of Canada 2010 http://www.oecd.org/document/56/0,3343,en_2649_34569_45925432_1_1_1_37443,00.html

 

So some American investors are looking at Canadian stocks. 7 favourites. Thanks to Robin of Victoria for sending this in.

Canadian investments are coming into favor as the specter of inflation rears its head and the fate of a U.S. recovery is anything but certain. Canada's financial system is stable, rich with natural resources and can keep plugging along even if consumers don't open up their wallets again anytime soon.  http://www.thestreet.com/story/10853820/7-canada-investments-thatll-take-off-next-year.html?puc=outbrain&cm_ven=outbrain&obref=obnetwork

Speaking of the rule of law, Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, has grabbed the HST revolt tiger by the neck announcing yesterday that the province will hold a simple majority vote on the controversial tax. Now maybe between today and the vote on 24 September 2011 this government will actually take the time to explain the economics of the tax and find ways to minimise who it is unfair too.

Premier Gordon Campbell is rewriting the rules for a high-stakes referendum in B.C., a gamble aimed at reclaiming the political initiative on his harmonized sales tax. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/majority-to-decide-on-hsts-future/article1706320/

Gideon Rachman argues that the anniversary of Lehman's collapse will be remembered by historians as more important than 9-11. 

America commemorates two grim anniversaries this month: 9/11 and 9/15. Almost a decade has passed since hijacked aircraft flew into the twin towers, killing nearly 3,000 people and transforming America’s relations with the world. Two years have elapsed since the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a global financial crisis and provoked fears of a new Great Depression.  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3d9c0b28-bf6b-11df-965a-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss&ftcamp=crm/email/2010914/nbe/Comment/product

The Reinhart's remind us that when economies are fragile that 'bad luck' can really hurt.

Is the global economic recovery about to grind to a halt? This column provides evidence on economic performance in the decade after a macroeconomic crisis. It finds that growth is much slower and as well as several episodes of “double dips”. It adds that many of these economies experience plain “bad luck” that strikes at a time when the economy remains highly vulnerable.  http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/5499

Obama's last chance and the rise of the fantasists.

His achievements are insufficient, his party is confused. As poverty bites and elections loom, fundamentalists and fantasists are seizing the initiative.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/13/recession-obama-fantasists-initiative

David Brooks reminds us of the false history of two leading Republicans. The state matters, its just in whose interest the state acts makes all the difference.

Every political movement has a story. The surging Republican Party has a story, too. It is a story of virtue betrayed and innocence threatened.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/opinion/14brooks.html?ref=global

Related.

As we move into this election season, Americans are being asked to choose between candidates and political parties.   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704358904575478141708959932.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

David Rosenberg on the importance of revisions to analyst earnings' projections to forecasting the stock market.

In his latest note, Gluskin-Sheff's David Rosenberg explains what indicator he would like to see that would make him bullish. His favorite indicator: Revisions to analyst earnings projections.   http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-sp-500-vs-12-month-forward-earnings-estimates-2010-9?utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Clusterstock+Chart+Of+The+Day&utm_campaign=Clusterstock_COTD_091310

 

Paul Krugman bemoans Chinese mercantilism.

Last week Japan’s minister of finance declared that he and his colleagues wanted a discussion with China about the latter’s purchases of Japanese bonds, to “examine its intention” — diplomat-speak for “Stop it right now.” The news made me want to bang my head against the wall in frustration.   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/opinion/13krugman.html?ref=opinion&nl=opinion&emc=tyb1

Early retirement, well planned and well funded is a blessing. Early retirement forced by firing is a curse.

The new unemployables.

What happens if you have planned nicely for your retirement date, but then your retirement date picks you?  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11290776

Charlie Rose is in England. Here he interviews John Mcklethwait editor-in-chief of the Economist. Fresh air thinking.

John Mcklethwait   http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11197

And Japan apologies for its cruelty to prisoners of war.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada officially apologized Monday to former U.S. prisoners of war for the "inhumane treatment" they suffered at the hands of the Imperial Army during World War II.  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/nn20100914a3.html

 

For this.

 

 

 

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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.