Science Seekers, Jackpot, Double Deal, Lead to Follow, Bond Market Danger, Majority Land, Election Lessons

The capacity for self-delusion is worth understanding particularly given the multi-layered nonsense that Osama bin Laden represented.

New research about how the brain works and how that often works to blind us to verifiable proof.

Articles also on the fall out from bin Laden’s assassination particularly the questions it raises about Pakistan, China's risky economy, PIMCO's bond problem, the Wall Street Journal opines on Stephen Harper’s victory, details about the government’s likely economic agenda, the new electoral map, and welcoming the NDP to majority land.

Blinded by ourselves.

Mother Jones – The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science
"A man with a conviction is a hard man to change.”

Quote worth quoting.

“The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion”

After killing Bin Laden, the spies found a jackpot of intelligence in his liar.

Wall Street Journal – Massive Intelligence Haul
The minute U.S. troops reached Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, they set in motion not just the takedown of the world's most-wanted terrorist, but also the largest potential intelligence coup of the post-9/11 era.

And the US finds out that Pakistan may not be the most reliable ally.

Financial Times – Pakistan: Caught Off Guard
When Osama bin Laden chose as his refuge the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad, he deployed one of the oldest tricks in the book of subterfuge. Indeed, the nation that was long suspected to have been hosting him has a neat Urdu proverb that describes feats of brazen deception achieved in broad daylight: “The darkness is deepest under the lamp.”

What the Bin Laden assassination tells us about the President.

Economist – The Killing of Osama bin Laden
"THERE'S an old poster out West that says: Wanted Dead or Alive."

The Bin Laden trade and market inefficiency.

New York Times – Bin Laden and Inefficient Markets
Someone else could have made a killing yesterday.


Robert Fisk on what’s next in the region.

Independent -- If this is a US victory, does that mean its forces should go home now?

So why are we in Afghanistan?

It is always remarkable how the closed, authoritarian, economically manipulated economies capture our imagination, countries that for a time seem unbeatable but ultimately cannot adjust to become open and flexible: Italy in 19-20, Germany in 19-30, Russia in 19-70, Japan in 19-80, and I think, China today.

George Magnus on the risks embedded in the Chinese economy.

Financial Times – China Risks Credit Fueled Minsky Moment
China is widely seen as a beacon of sustained economic expansion and financial stability, in contrast to a troubled western world.

Bill Gross writes about the Bond Ship Titanic. Thanks to Russell of Victoria for sending this in.

Pdf below – The Caine Mutiny (Part II)

The Wall Street Journal suggests the Republican Party head north to learn about how to run an economy. (ed’s note – they forget to mention how the Federal Reserve and Chinese currency manipulation have created the commodity boom that is fueling Canada’s economy).

Wall Street Journal – What Canadians Want
Canadian Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper's landslide victory in Monday's election, capturing the first center-right majority since 1988, is a tutorial in economics as much as politics. Aspiring Presidential candidates south of the 49th parallel, please take note.

TD Economics on likely Conservative economic policy.

Pdf below -- Flash Update Much Ado about Nothing for Investors

The Prime Minister’s first majority steps.

Globe and Mail – Majority Man
His majority mandate in hand, Stephen Harper is preparing to recall Parliament within weeks and keep the Commons sitting until the 2011 budget is approved – setting the stage for a whirlwind session that will cram a lot into a short time frame as summer looms.



Election Map

What awaits the non-Conservative members of the House. Thanks to Ross of Etobicoke for sending in the cartoon.

Chronicle Herald – Layton Should Check His Illusions at Stronoway’s Door
Jack Layton could be cooling his heels by the telephone for a while.


Majority Land

10 Lessons from the election.

National Post -- Ten Lessons to Learn from the 2011 Election

Flash Update Much Ado about Nothing for Investors May 2 2011.pdf204.22 KB
The Caine Mutiny PIMCO May 2011.pdf546.58 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.