Smart Links 31 January 2012
Commentary on capitalism, Canadian banks, disruptive technology in the publishing business, how innovation works, the Iran problem, and the price of beef.
The hand wringing about capitalism as being too hot – the Washington consensus – or too cold – where the state dominates – misses the truth that ultimately the most sustainable communities, national and global, find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcome and equality of opportunity.
The challenge is how to tax and regulate the economy in such way as to ensure unequal economic outcomes that provide the public revenue to invest in instruments of social justice, namely equality under the law, world class public education, the science of good health available to all citizens, and best in class public transportation.
Together these are more likely to produce sustainable world class community and economic outcomes as they are the foundation for the next generation of economic success.
Financial Times -- ‘Davos consensus’ under siege
If nothing else, Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the US presidency has contributed an excellent new phrase to the language. His coinage – “pious baloney” – kept popping into my head in Davos last week, every time I saw the World Economic Forum’s ubiquitous slogan: “Committed to improving the state of the world”.
Financial Times -- Hollande vows to raise taxes for rich and banks
François Hollande has outlined plans to raise taxes from the country’s banks, big companies and higher earners to close the country’s budget deficit and fund job creation in his bid to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy in France’s presidential election.
Useful comparison points on the relative strength of Canadian banks. (ed's note -- still the merging of investment banks with commercial banks imbeds the moral hazard that the Canadian taxpayer will be on the hook when the next financial tsunami hits).
Financial Times -- Canadian banks 1, Australian banks 0
Fitch has put Australian banks on ratings watch negative, while affirming Canadian banks’ ratings. As Fitch points out in an accompanying report, both countries’ major banks are among the few such institutions rated AA and have many similarities.
Short the publishers.
The Atlantic -- Will Amazon Kill Publishing?
The tech giant and book merchant is signing its own authors to get a leg up on Apple and Barnes & Noble. It just might crush New York's publishing establishment in the process.
Innovation takes different paths.
New York Times -- The Yin and the Yang of Corporate Innovation
IN the hunt for innovation, that elusive path to economic growth and corporate prosperity, try a little jazz as an inspirational metaphor.
Hammer or hand shake?
New Yorker – Iran: Table Talk
In the State of the Union address of 1954, which Dwight Eisenhower delivered less than a year after he had secretly ordered the C.I.A. to overthrow Tehran’s left-leaning government, he celebrated “the forces of stability and freedom” at work in Iran.
Let them eat chicken.
Vancouver Sun -- Beef prices set to soar
The price you pay for meat at the grocery store is likely to rise again in 2012.
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©
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