Smart Links 11 May 2012

Commentary on marriage, inequality and the recession, how the Mafia hurts the economy, Chinese choices, and Dutch nonsense.

What it is anyway?


New York Review of Books -- The Myth About Marriage
Why do some people who would recognize gay civil unions oppose gay marriage?


Los Angles Times -- Obama's family influenced his gay marriage shift, aides say
As he weighed a shift in his public position on gay marriage, perhaps no one had as much influence on President Obama as his wife, Michelle.

10 out of 50 reasons why gay marriage is wrong.

youtube -- Why Gay Marriage is WRONG
Tyler Oakley

Did a jealous middle class lever themselves and the economy into a recession?

Guardian -- How income inequality contributed to the Great Recession
Higher inequality, combined with easy credit, can pressure the lower and middle class to keep up with consumers at the top.

Hey Vinnie you gotta read this. (ed’s note – no wonder Italy is in crisis).

voxed -- Can the Mafia divert the allocation of public transfers?
Can organised crime divert public spending? This column presents evidence of the Mafia influencing public transfers and argues that geographically targeted aid should take into account the risk that at least part of the funding feeds into organised crime.

TD Economics opines on the challenges China faces in shifting from export to domestic led growth.

Pdf below -- China Rebalancing


East Asia Forum -- China’s choices and ours
Although he’s confident that Asia’s present regional order and institutions will keep Asia peaceful and harmonious as China’s power grows, Amitav Acharya does acknowledge that adjustments will be needed.

A slowly rising currency is a very good thing.

Globe and Mail -- Dutch disease? Economic hypochondria
The increase in the price of oil and other resources has been accompanied by increasing references to so-called Dutch disease; a recent example is the interview NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair gave on CBC Radio’s The House last weekend.


The Agenda – The Currency Market
The loonie soars one day, then nosedives the next. What currency markets tell us about the health of the world's economy.


China Rebalancing.pdf715.58 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.