Smart Links 10 April 2012

Commentary on our universe without purpose, the captain matters, the Titanic’s hold on our imagination, cheater, dismantling the Euro, can India and Pakistan get along, son of Japanese war criminal and the POW his father tortured, and the 95th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.

A magical universe. (ed’s note  -- the purpose of course is what we put into it).

Los Angles Times -- A universe without purpose
New revelations in science have shown what a strange and remarkable universe we live in.

The reason that many more women and children survived the sinking of the Titanic (100 years ago next Sunday) had nothing to do with chivalry and everything to do with Captain Edward John Smith.

Economist -- Women and children first?
THE Titanic disaster has lost nothing of its horrifying appeal, even as we approach its 100th anniversary on April 15.

Why the Titanic? (ed’s note – after reporting that all survived the New Evening Sun’s headline the next day read ‘TITANIC SINKS, 1500 DIE’).

New Yorker -- Unsinkable
Why we can’t let go of the Titanic.

Hungarian goulash. Thanks to Pat of Victoria.

Economist -- Hungary's president
He copied, but he's not a plagiarist.

Breaking up isn’t that hard to do.

Economist -- Currency disunion
Why Europe’s leaders should think the unthinkable.

Better relations between bitter enemies.

Project Syndicate -- An India-Pakistan Thaw?
India and Pakistan are enjoying one of the better periods in their turbulent relationship.

The long shadow of war in Japan.

Japan Times -- War criminal's son and British 'railway man' bridge war's painful divide
In September 1943, eight British officers were tortured by their Japanese captors at the prisoner-of-war camp in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The camp, and a nearby bridge over the Kwai River, were later the setting for director David Lean's multi-Oscar-winning 1957 film "The Bridge on the River Kwai," about the ordeals undergone by tens of thousands of POWs forced to build the Thai-Burma Railway.

Vimy, 95 years later.

National Post  -- Vimy Ridge marked Canada’s birth as a nation, G-G says on 95th aniversary of battle
The Battle of Vimy Ridge marked “the birth of a nation” for Canada, says Governor-General David Johnston.













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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.