Tata Time, Bargain Hunting, Faceoff, Bill Soros, Euro Tea, Laden Fallout, Voiceless, Very Poor, Politics Is Local, Loonie Love

I bought my first new car in 1977. It was a standard Honda Civic, cost me $3,600, and was only available in yellow.

I drove it across Canada twice and sold it when I moved to Geneva in 1981 for $2,500.

Those cars were at the thin edge of the revolution in the automotive industry that would reshape the global economy.

And in the 21st century there’s Tata.

Articles on other bargains in equities but not bonds Greek or American, Europe’s rightward shift, thinking about bin Laden, Christopher Hitchens on the price of throat cancer, the very poor, Rick Mercer confirms that all politics is local, and why an independent monetary policy saved the Canadian economy.

News today that India’s Tata has exported its first 480 cars. Average price? About $3.500. Thanks to Ken of Tokyo/Hong Kong for sending this in.

Market Watch – Tata Starts Exporting World’s Cheapest Car
Tata Motors Ltd. has started exporting the Nano mini-car from April, a move that will likely help India's largest auto maker by sales further lift sales of the world's cheapest car and reduce its sole dependence on the home market.

Despite the S&P’s best quarterly performance since 1998, only a few sectors participated. Bill Miller argues that a few key sectors are by important historical measures bargains.

Financial Times – A Good Time to Snap Up Healthcare and Tech Stocks
The most surprising thing about the market this year is not that the S&P 500 had its best first quarter since 1998.

Only the brave, however, would think that the bargains extend to Greek bonds. (ed’s note – unfortunately extending the life of the debt owed to say 2050 isn’t likely to make debt holders very happy).

Financial Times – Currency Club Back to Square One on Athens
Exactly one year since the €750bn international rescue package was launched to save the eurozone, the currency union has found itself back at square one as Greece’s debt problems continue to undermine monetary union.


George Soros made history shorting the British pound, is Bill Gross of PIMCO thinking the same thing with US bonds?

Reuters – PIMCO Raises Bet Against US Government Debt
The increase, albeit small, follows Gross' move to ratchet up his bearishness in March by taking his initial short position in U.S. government-related debt, which includes Treasuries, TIPS, agencies, interest rate swaps, Treasury futures and options and FDIC-guaranteed corporate securities.

Thoughts about Tea Parties in Europe, the same but different. Thanks again to Ken of Tokyo/Hong Kong.

Market Watch – Europe’s Tea Party Political Parties on the Rise
Americans look over the pond and shake their heads at those crazy Europeans and their leftwing liberal ideas.

With bin Laden buried in the sea, a host of interesting articles on the type of guys that got him, the fallout with Pakistan over their involvement on both sides of the kill, what it cost, and the future of his organization.

Vanity Fair -- A Veteran of SEAL Team Six Describes His Training
The navy SEALs Team Six is so elite and secretive that its very existence has never been acknowledged by the military—even after its members led the successful assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.


New York Times – Leak of CIA Officer Name is Sign of Rift with Pakistan
For the second time in five months, the Pakistani authorities have angered the Central Intelligence Agency by tipping the Pakistani news media to the identity of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad, a deliberate effort to complicate the work of the American spy agency in the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, American officials said.


Atlantic – The Cost of bin Laden: $3 Trillion Over 15 Years
The most expensive public enemy in American history died Sunday from two bullets.


New York Review of Books -- Pakistan and al-Qaeda’s Future
For three decades Osama bin Laden, the tall, shy, lanky, but mesmerizing Saudi, has gripped the imagination of tens of thousands of Muslims and became the bane of the world’s armies and intelligence agencies.

For those of our readers that smoke, (please) heed the warning of Christopher Hitchens made voiceless by throat cancer.

Vanity Fair – Unspoken Truths
Until cancer attacked his vocal cords, the author didn’t fully appreciate what was meant by “a writer’s voice,” or the essential link between speech and prose. As a man who loved to talk, he turns to the masters of such conversation, both in history and in his own circle.

Quote worth quoting.

“Deprivation of the ability to speak is more like an attack of impotence, or the amputation of part of the personality. To a great degree, in public and private, I “was” my voice.”

King Lear’s howl. (ed’s note – from 4.04)

youtube -- Laurence Olivier ... King Lear

Measuring poverty.

Economist – The Bread Line
ECONOMISTS Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo describe the results of a number of household surveys they carried out in developing countries in their new book “Poor Economics”.


Rick Mercer trying to explain the federal election to a BBC International audience, and by consequence, reminds us how lucky Canadians are.

Macleans – In God’s Name How Do You Explain?
Having led the Conservative party to a majority government, with the Liberal party lying bloodied and dying at his feet, Stephen Harper saw the breadth of his domain and wept, for he had no more worlds to conquer.

And thank goodness we heeded John McCallum’s advice about linking the Canadian dollar to the US dollar.

Globe and Mail – The Case for a Canada-US Monetary Union is Dead
In its last FOMC meeting, the Federal Reserve noted that conditions “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period”, and some Canadian observers interpreted this decision as a signal that the Bank of Canada would -- or should -- refrain from increasing rates in the near future. 


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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.