Rethinking College, Breaking Up, End of QE2, Chill in Spring, Double Delusion, Sidney Lumet

The biggest assumption about attending university is that it is the best path to a successful life, however with mortgage down payment debt levels graduates are finding out that this may not be the case, and that the path least taken would have been smarter.

Articles also on the risk to the international system from states being helped to break up, the terrible QE2 exit quandary, the Israeli-Hamas tension in the Arab spring, on the reaction to outrageous speech, and what director Sidney Lumet left behind.

The higher education bubble: it’s expensive, it puts many in deep debt that is hard to pay off , and there are other avenues to success. (ed’s note – surely the issue is not whether less people attend university education but how to use existing technologies to reduce the price to deliver Harvard level excellence).

TechCrunch -- We’re in a Bubble and its Not the Internet, It’s Higher Education
Fair warning: This article will piss off a lot of you.

Quote worth quoting.

“The question is, why [not] make it possible for anyone who wants to go to Harvard to be able to do it? [Use innovation to] disrupt [these] hidebound institutions. Making it possible for motivated individuals to get the same quality of education that exists at the nation’s best universities without having to attend them would be the kind of disruption that would fit into [the most forward looking] social views and  economic ones.” – The Big Picture


Calvert-Henderson – Education Indicator
In today's globalized information-based economy, knowledge is now widely recognized as a key factor of production.



Statscan – Tuition Fee Deregulation: Who Pays?
Average tuition fees in Canadian universities have risen steadily over the past ten years. In fact, after several years of relative stability, tuition fees in Canadian undergraduate programs almost doubled over the last decade.



Fraser Institute -- Does Society or the Individual Benefit Most from Post-Secondary Education?
Post--secondary student unions' recent calls for a national tuition freeze—as a first--step toward the elimination of tuition fees—are merited, they argue, by the tremendous social benefits that accrue from a well--educated population.

The emphasis in the international system on non-interference and territorial integrity has allowed the principle of self-determination to become a shield for autocrats to oppress their populations. With the split in Yemen and the stalemate in Libya this long held practice may be changing.

Financial Times -- Breaking up states is becoming easy to do
As the Arab Spring gives way to a long, torrid summer, we can no longer be confident that, while governments may change, the shape of states will stay the same.

The most important issue facing investors is what happens to the price of equities and bonds when the Federal Reserve ends QE2. Here is useful thought journey about what it might look like.

Pdf below -- The End of QE2 Major Policy Shift Ahead


Hussman Funds -- Charles Plosser and the 50% Contraction in the Fed's Balance Sheet
Last week, an unusual event happened in the money markets that should not escape the attention of investors.


Wall Street Journal – The Man Who Predicted the Tsunami
The giant tsunami that assaulted northern Japan's coast surprised just about everyone. But Masanobu Shishikura was expecting it. The thought that came to mind, he says, was "yappari," a Japanese word meaning roughly, "Sure enough, it happened."

The Israel-Hamas chill in the Arab Spring.

STRATFOR  -- The Arab Rising, Israel, and Hamas
There was one striking thing missing from the events in the Middle East in past months: Israel.

Niall Ferguson reminds us that it is not only people that thirst for freedom that take advantage of new communication technologies but those that would deny it too. (ed’s note – the state in particular).

Newsweek – The Mash of Civilisations
Social networks might promote democracy, but they also empower the enemies of freedom.

A recent BBC documentary on the 10-year long fatwa imposed on Salman Rushdie for his portrayal of Islam in his novel Satanic Verses featured a young British citizen of the Islamic faith who at the time was all for seeing Rushdie murdered, demonstrating in downtown London calling for his death complete with book burnings.

But on reflection, a decade on, he concluded that the reaction of the Islamic community told him more about his faith than about Rushdie, and what he heard was not pretty, and he was sorry for it.

So it is with the deranged Pastor in Florida who decided to burn the Qu’ran and the reaction in some parts of the Muslim world.

New York Times – Freedom to Inflame
Don’t encourage him by paying attention. Just ignore him.


State – Cynicism by the Book
Heinrich Heine's famous observation about book burning—that where books are burned, people also will be—was actually first made about the torching of the Qur'an.


Telegraph – France’s Burqa Ban is a Victory for Tolerance
Despite some high-profile protests, France’s banning of the burka is enormously popular with the public.

How art opens doors, A Dog Day Afternoon, and the passing of Sidney Lumet (ed’s note – Sidney of “without love there is no justice” insight).

Globe and Mail -- Remembering Sidney Lumet, and a film more vivid now than ever
Inspired by watching The Godfather that day, and during a blistering heat wave in the summer of 1972, New York City native John Wojtowicz and his associate, Salvatore Naturile, held up a Chase Manhattan bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

Quote worth quoting.

“Think of the first time many of you saw Sonny and Leon speak with such rough eloquence, and you are remembering the first time the mainstream opened to admit another tide, thanks to Sidney Lumet, sacred visionary.”

The End of QE2 Major Policy Shift Ahead.pdf103.86 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.