Always Hot Air About High Oil Prices, 'Them's Us', America's Not Working, Income Inequality Blues, Mindless Prison System(s)

Something magical happens in French cities around 5 pm, the sidewalks start teeming with families on their way to shop for the ingredients of the evening meal or tomorrow’s needs. Hand in hand with children, walking, no cars, the city comes alive in a different way.

The chirpiness in peoples’ voices creates a kind of music in the shops and on the city sidewalks. This compares to the bleak, colourless, people void world that Jacksonville’s downtown is made up of, a wretched shame of empty buildings and destroyed people hiding under concrete bridges.

This made me think of Victoria and the hard work that Mayor Dean Fortin is doing to save the city from the ravages of sprawl and the car culture.

Luckily Victoria is far closer to Paris, in this respect.

Two truths we hold to be self-evident, that income inequality has nothing to do with whether or not a society is unequal, it is just easy for people to understand, and a permanent rise in the real price of commodities is impossible.

Measuring the inter-generational education, health, community and economic outcomes of the bottom 20% of families is the best measure of inequality. Railing about rich people isn’t.

And the peak oil, $200 a barrel crowd create much heat and light of their own but not very good economics.

Articles about false permanently rising commodity price prophets, how Britain’s current government is trying to rethink 100 years of the relationship between the state and society, a few nasty articles on the US economy as gold gets to $1,400 and income inequality rises.

And more evidence of America’s insane prison system, and Japan's equally insane public finances.

Peak oil noise. -- Oil price spike to end, you can bet on it
Paul Higgins
AT RECENT conferences on the future of biofuels, I have offered a $10 bet to anyone in the room that the West Texas intermediate oil price will be less than US$40 a barrel within three years. So far only three people have taken up the bet.


The New York Times -- Economic Optimism? Yes, I’ll Take That Bet
Five years ago, Matthew R. Simmons and I bet $5,000.

What Saskatchewan taught London (UK) about the state.

Financial Times -- Britain’s big gamble puts the citizens at the wheel
Lady Perry, a former chief inspector of schools in England, uses an anecdote from her time as a young teacher in Canada to explain the concept of the Big Society.

Quote worth quoting.

"One community worker blogged about attempts to bring together locals in a small festival in a park. “It required a 30-page park use form. We were told it may take six months to get permission. Oh, and we’d need public liability insurance. If we wanted to do any kids’ activities we’d need criminal record checks on any volunteers. The police would need to clear the road. We couldn’t serve any food or drink.” They ended up hosting an unofficial event."

Beware the economy in 2011.

The New York Times -- In the Rearview, a Year That Fizzled
It was the year that the economy started to recover and then slid back into a slump — only to offer reason for renewed hope in the final weeks.


Related.  (ed's note: now is that good news on the economy or bond panic?)

Economist -- A year in nine pictures


One view anyway.

market -- America's Second Great Depression 2010 Year-End Update (Part 1)
Bernanke’s pledge has been broken.


Very related.


Quote worth quoting.

"In fact, I predict in coming years we will see an ironic trend in the U.S. Instead of U.S. consumers speaking with Indians in Bombay for customer support from U.S. corporations, Indians will be speaking with U.S. citizens who will provide them with phone support."

Looking at the wrong thing.

Obama's War on Inequality
How he's losing it.
Was't income inequality supposed to be the big theme of the Obama administration?

Heading higher?

Gold tops $1,400-an-ounce - Silver above $30
Gold prices rallied 1.6 percent to above $1,400 an ounce on Tuesday, lifted by a falling U.S. dollar.

Quote worth quoting.

"You can be spot on with an economic analysis and still lose a tremendous amount of money in the stock market. The key is to understand when to shift gears. Understanding the risks to the economy only helps you protect your downside. But if you focus on the risks without reading how investors are reacting to their perceptions of reality, you will miss tremendous opportunities."

Not happy. 

'I Am Moving To Net Short Position'
With all the bullish calls on the U.S. economy in the new year, including Goldman's call for a 20% market rally, what could possibly go wrong?

More on income inequality.

Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High
Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez.


And in the unbelievable category.

A parody of therapy
The picture says it all.


Prison of a different kind.

Japan and the Limits of Keynesianism
Japan's budget is in a truly terrifying state. 

Add your opinion Rate this story Share Subscribe E-mail Print

Post new comment

Keep up with CEF!

User login

Login using social networks

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.