Smart Picks 01 April 2012

Commentary on disruptive energy technologies, RIM’s evil quarter, a hot Spanish summer, a fun uncle, German unions downsize, Ignatieff on American exceptionalism, and the political consequences of 67.

5 new energy technologies.

McKinsey Quarterly -- Five technologies to watch
Innovation in energy technology is taking place rapidly. Five technologies you may not have heard of could be ready to change the energy landscape by 2020.

R.I.M, R.I.P.

Bloomberg -- Worse, Not Worst for Research in Motion
Rob Cox and Breakingviews columnists discuss RIM’s lackluster results and what it means for the future of the BlackBerry maker.

Spain bond yields are rising again for the wrong reason.

Economist -- Starting to worry
Once again, Spain is on the front-line of the euro crisis.


Delicious memories.

Independent -- Donald MacInnes: Delicious memories of apples, fishing and treetops
Who was your favourite uncle or aunt?

Is the German economic model fraying?

Guardian -- Germany's unions: a model for Britain or a disaster waiting to happen?
Strikes may be orderly affairs with cake and corporate clout, but the rise of niche unions in Germany is threatening their power.

USA, USA … (ed’s note – yes Canadians the title is ironic).

New York Review of Books -- We’re So Exceptional
Michael Ignatieff - Affirming belief that America is an exceptional nation has become a test of patriotism in American politics.

From 65 to 67.

Toronto Sun -- Harper budget skewers ‘demographics’ who elected him
Of the many things that Budget 2012 will be remembered for, the assault on Canadian seniors must surely rank as Number One.


Elton John – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me

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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.