Reform or Revolution

Thomas Cole's fifth painting in the series 'The Course of Empire' entitled Desolation (1836)

There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption - barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page. -- Byron

With health care costs eating up public finances the changes started in the United Kingdom must be of great interest to anyone thinking about excellent outcomes in public policy. Here a key advisor of Tony Blair argues that the changes begun by the Cameron-Clegg coalition are evolutionary not revolutionary.

Financial Times -- Cameron’s NHS reform is no health revolution
Huge exaggeration characterises the debate over the coalition’s health reforms, published on Wednesday. 

Japan’s new finance minister signals risks in debt that is 200% of GDP and rising.

Financial Times -- Japan hits ‘critical point’ on state debt
Japan has hit a “critical point” where it risks losing investor confidence if politicians fail to reach agreement on how to rein in the ballooning national debt, a cabinet minister has warned.

Now is this demographics that are about to crack or the Greenspan-Bernanke hedge?

Chart Store

David Rosenberg keeps warning and Donald Coxe keeps investing in commodities. Thanks to David of Victoria for sending both these in.

Pdf below -- Rosenberg -- Why this market rally will_end in tears

Quote worth quoting.

“Just as the 2003-07 bear market rally was built on a shaky foundation of unsustainable credit and house price appreciation, the current bear market rally has been built on even shakier ground of surreal public sector intervention.”

Donald Coxe and  the ‘Second Great Liquidity Gush’.

Pdf -- Coxe -- Overview and Outlook -- Stand alone

I like to visit big cities and live in small ones.

Big or small?
Economist -- This house believes that restricting the growth of cities will improve quality of life.

32 shots in 16 seconds. Available at most reliable sport stores near you.

Washington Post -- Videos show details of Tucson shooting
Authorities have analyzed nearly two dozen surveillance videos in the massive investigation of accused Tucson killer Jared Lee Loughner, some of which clearly show a gunman shooting federal Judge John Roll in the back as he and an injured congressional aide try to scramble under a table, officials who have viewed the footage said Tuesday.



Gun Control

If gold becomes a legitimate asset …

Financial Times -- Brace for a ‘perfect storm’ in gold
Investment implies moving some part of one’s assets from financial safety to a position of acceptable risk with the hope of increasing wealth over time.

Niall Ferguson on empires. No decline just swift collapse. The warning signs? Fiscal impurdence. A hour of great analysis.

Empires on the Edge of Chaos

Hey brother can you spare a dime?

The myth of 'American exceptionalism' implodes
One aspect of "American exceptionalism" was always economic. US workers, so the story went, enjoyed a rising level of real wages that afforded their families a rising standard of living. Ever harder work paid off in rising consumption.

Rosenberg -- Why_this_market_rally_will_end_in_tears (1).pdf38.04 KB
Coxe -- Overview_and_Outlook_Stand alone_Jan_2011.pdf266.17 KB
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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.