Smart Links 25 December 2011

Commentary on the Big Lie, Japan’s scary finances, from a Catholic private school in India to a nuclear bomb in North Korea, confessions of an economist, Mark Carney on what’s next, and a modest proposal reprinted.


Just like governments telling their citizens that crime rates are rising to justify boneheaded crime bills, financial firm apologists have been blaming the mortgage crisis on public policy that encouraged home ownership. Shame.

New York Times -- The Big Lie
So this is how the Big Lie works.

Quote worth quoting.

“The S.E.C.’s facts paint a picture in which it wasn’t high-minded government mandates that did [Fannie and Freddie] wrong, but rather the monomaniacal focus of top management on market share.”


Washington Post – What Caused the Financial Crisis: The Big Lie Goes Viral
I have a fairly simple approach to investing: Start with data and objective evidence to determine the dominant elements driving the market action right now.

Japan’s finances get worse.

Japan Times -- Cabinet crafts record ¥96 trillion budget
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda agreed Saturday to submit a record-high ¥96 trillion initial budget for the next fiscal year, highlighting the difficulties of funding quake-reconstruction work and social security while trying to maintain fiscal discipline.


Life works in mysterious ways. Thanks to David of London.

Telegraph -- In part, the Marists of Ireland helped equip the Marxists of North Korea with nuclear weapons
This coming year marks the 120th anniversary of the establishment by Irish Marists of St Anthony's school in Lahore, in what was then the Punjab Province of the British Raj in India.

Don Drummond confesses that there is more to increasing investment than lower taxes and other incentives.

Pdf below -- Confessions of a Serial Productivity Researcher

How to grow when debt contracts?

Pdf below -- Growth in the Age of Delevaging

End the veto and other things.

ipolitics – Democratising Platform Development Within the Liberal Party
At the heart of any political movement is a political program for governing – a program that is effectively articulated by its leadership but guided by its proponents – the Liberal Party needs a structural, but more importantly, a cultural rebalancing of its own internal relationships which have become characterized by polarization and mistrust.

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Confessions of a Serial Productivity Researcher82.89 Ko
Growth in the Age of Delevaging.pdf137.83 Ko
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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.