Smart Links 03 May 2012

Commentary on the Obama Osama ad, Airbus side stick design fault, Conrad’s coming home, South African worries, France’s silent economic decline, why the Germans stopped hating Jews, and how to fix the lack of powerful women in Canada.

He said, he said.

New Yorker -- Romney Walks into Obama’s Bin Laden Trap
The Obama campaign chose to release its controversial attack “ad” about the killing of Osama bin Laden last Friday—a day when the news cycle would otherwise have been dominated by negative economic tidings: the Commerce Department’s announcement that G.D.P. growth in the first quarter slowed to close to two per cent.

More than just pilot error.

Telegraph -- Air France Flight 447: 'Damn it, we’re going to crash’
With the report into the tragedy of Air France 447 due next month, Airbus’s 'brilliant’ aircraft design may have contributed to one of the world’s worst aviation disasters and the deaths of all 228 onboard.

How does Conrad’s return stack up to say a Lindsay Lohan hopeful visit? Thanks to Robin of Victoria.

National Post -- Think Conrad Black received special treatment? Lindsay Lohan begs to differ
Two words for anyone who thinks Conrad Black shouldn’t be let back into Canada: Lindsay Lohan.

Things could get nasty in South Africa.

New York Review of Books -- A New Crisis in South Africa
The Freedom Park housing settlement sprawls across a barren, windswept plain on the outskirts of Rustenburg, South Africa, about one hundred miles northwest of Johannesburg.

Nothing said.

Economist -- Electoral silence on France's slow economic decline
France's economy has weathered the global crisis of the last five years deceptively well, shielded by a Leviathan state and the postponement of hard choices.

How to change behavior.

voxeu -- Hatred transformed: How Germans changed their minds about Jews, 1890-2006
The persecution of Jews during WWII is one of the darkest and most puzzling chapters of recent history. This column asks how economics can help our understanding, particularly of how people’s attitudes to Jews have changed over time. It argues that ‘cultural economics’ shows that there is more to understanding how people behave than looking at their incentives.

Making Canada more representative.

Open Canada -- Fixing Canada First
Foreign Minister John Baird has made the protection and advancement of women’s rights “a key pillar of Canada’s foreign policy.”

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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.