Revolution Scorecard, Anti-China Bubble, Economic Strategies, New Contagion, Happy Wealth, Tiny Strike, Conservative Coalition

Alex Burrows 11-second overtime goal, the wonderful weather we had on the west coast this week end, and Winnipeg's rapid sell out of its seasons' tickets are no doubt harbingers of happy times ahead in the next few weeks and months.

 

We wonder if the same can be said for Libya, Yemen, Syria, Germany, China, the United States, Canada Post, and the Liberal Party of Canada as nasty realities bear down on them.

 

Articles about advancing revolutions, the anti-China bubble, America’s troubled economy, a nasty virus in Europe that has nothing to do with sovereign debt, balancing wealth and happiness, Canada Post’s tiny strike, and why the Conservative Party of Canada has the chance to be in power for the long haul.

 

It has been a busy weekend in a variety of countries trying to dump tyrants.

New York Times – NATO Begins Helicopter Attacks In Hopes of Ending Stalemate with Qaddafi 
In a move to intensify pressure on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, NATO introduced attack helicopters into its air campaign against Libyan forces for the first time on Saturday, military officials said.

 

New York Times – Citing Medical Needs, Yemeni Leader Goes to Saudi Arabia
Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for urgent medical treatment of wounds sustained in a bold attack on the presidential compound, Saudi officials said, abruptly shifting the political calculus that has allowed him to cling to power despite months of protest and violence.

 

New York Times – Syrian Tanks Move In on City as Thousands Mourn Protesters’ Deaths
Syrian tanks took up positions outside the city of Hama on Saturday, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to mourn the deaths of at least 65 protesters gunned down by security forces there the day before.

The FT makes the case that some investors are over shorting Chinese shares.

Financial Times – Is China Bubble Now an anti-China Bubble?
Sino Forest is the latest company to exemplify what is fast becoming a truism: if a company has Sino or China in its name and was listed abroad via a reverse takeover, shorting it might be a very profitable play.

In the late 1980s Clyde Prestowitz held up the Japanese economy as a model for the United States. Now it is China, Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore with the common features of an economy built on savings, investment and exports, with a strong planning bias. Of these four only China is reliant on an under valued currency, and it is not obvious that a country that spends more money on military spending than the next 15 countries combined does not have a large degree of planning in their economy.

Foreign Policy – Another Forgettable Name at Commerce
Have you ever heard of John Bryson?

And an economy that becomes dependent on unregulated even criminal behavior in the financial sector to support its borrowing, consumption and import model will eventually keel over. Welcome to the United States circa 2011. (ed’s note – there are 18.5 million empty homes in the United States today, about 6 million more than Canada’s entire housing stock).

The American Interest – The Death of the American Dream
The news from the housing market this week is bad.  Really bad.

Related.

Charlie Rose – Kenneth Rogoff and David Wessel

A terribly deadly contagion threatens Europe, and we are not talking about sovereign debt.

Yahoo News – Germany Steps up Hunt for Deadly E.coli Source
Racing to curb the spread of a killer food bug, Germany set up a task force on Friday to hunt down the source of a highly toxic strain of E.coli that has killed 19 people and sounded alarms around the world.

The OECD comes up with a clever index that measures wealth (boring!) and the better life showing that money isn’t everything.

The Economist – The Pursuit of Happiness
FOR more than 70 years, economists have been fixated with measuring economic output.

 

Related.

OECD Better Life Initiative

And in the 'shooting yourself in the head' category, Canada Post workers start rotating strikes. Mummy, what’s a post office?

Globe and Mail – Postal Workers Sealing Their Own Fate With Strike
At a time when Canada Post has seen a 17-per-cent drop in mail volumes over the past five years, the union is seeking wage increases.

Why Tom Flanagan thinks the Conservatives will be in power for a long time. Jack and Bob should take note. Time to merge around the Liberal Democratic Party?

Calgary Herald – The Emerging New Conservative Coalition
The 2011 federal election saw the emergence of a majority Conservative electoral coalition that may dominate Canadian politics for years to come.

Quote worth quoting.

“The resulting coalition conforms with the game-theoretic ideal of a minimum connected winning coalition and, as such, should be internally stable and difficult for opponents to break up.”

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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.