Smart Links 26 April 2012

Commentary on free speech, France, picking great basketball players, monopoly capitalism, and absurb public sector rules.

Picking for you.

New York Review of Books -- Bringing Censors to the Book Fair
When I arrived at the London Book Fair on Monday, I saw a huge sign outside showing a cute Chinese boy holding an open book with the words underneath him: “China: Market Focus.”

France’s troubled waters. Thanks to David of Victoria.

Financial Times -- Sarkozy’s failure reflects France’s identity crisis
Nicolas Sarkozy is battling for his political survival, having become the first incumbent French president to trail in second place after the first round of voting.


Spectator – The Crescent of Fear
Rod Liddle goes to Grigny, a suburb south of Paris, and witnesses at first hand the consequences of Muslim reluctance to integrate with French society.

Like elephants.

Economist -- The elephant on the court
IN A famous detective story by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter”, a minister steals a letter containing compromising information from a woman and uses it to blackmail her.

Quote that’s interesting.

“In contrast, NBA teams cannot hold the rights to anyone beyond the 15 players on their active roster. That makes them more like elephant mothers, who give birth to very few babies and have to gestate them for almost two years.”

Why idea monopolies make capitalism work.

New York Times – The Creative Monopoly
As a young man, Peter Thiel competed to get into Stanford. Then he competed to get into Stanford Law School.

Quote worth noting.

“Instead of being slightly better than everybody else in a crowded and established field, it’s often more valuable to create a new market and totally dominate it.”

Yertle the turtle absurdle.

Globe and Mail -- Dr. Seuss’s ‘Yertle the Turtle’ deemed too political for B.C. classroom
A Prince Rupert elementary teacher has been told a quote from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle is a political statement that should not be displayed or worn on clothing in her classroom.

Quote worth banning.

“I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights.”


 

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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, marshaling 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.

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.