Smart Links 12 April 2012
Commentary on the impact of futures trading on oil prices, nice thoughts about Japan, Christianity goes global, European banks new challenge, complicated relations, and Andrew Coyne asks how Canadians should respond to the Conservatives big F35 whopper.
There is a rising argument against allowing options trading for profit in oil.
New York Times -- The High Cost of Gambling on Oil
THE drastic rise in the price of oil and gasoline is in part the result of forces beyond our control: as high-growth countries like China and India increase the demand for petroleum, the price will go up.
McClatchy -- Finance expert says speculators are behind high oil and gasoline prices
Financial speculators are gambling on oil the same way they gambled on the housing market a few years ago — a frightening prospect for the fragile economy, a Democratic congressional committee was told Wednesday.
Some things Japan does do very well.
Financial Times -- Memo from Tokyo: what Japan can teach us
In 1977 Margaret Thatcher visited the Nissan car factory outside Tokyo.
Interesting debate about the shift of Christianity to the Southern Hemisphere over the past 100 years.
The Agenda -- Christianity Goes Global
Christianity isn't in decline. In the past century, the religion has more than tripled in size. As Europe and North America become increasingly secular, the "global south" is converting to Christianity. The Agenda asks: What does this mean for the future of the faith?
After being bailed out by the ECB now what for Europe’s troubled banks.
Telegraph -- Europe's banks beached as ECB stimulus runs dry
The European Central Bank's €1 trillion (£824bn) lending spree over the winter has stored up a host of fresh problems, leaving parts of the banking system more vulnerable than before as the short-term "sugar rush" nears exhaustion.
East Asia Forum -- The India–US–China–Pakistan strategic quadrilateral
Although the disputed border between China and India is often highlighted as the major sticking point in Sino–Indian relations, in reality it has remained relatively peaceful since the end of the 1962 war, and the potential for overt military conflict in the region remains minimal.
Conservatives caught with both hands in the cookie jar, so what?
canada.com -- The F-35 scandal — when governments lie, how do we respond?
The Conservative government continues to maintain that it didn't know it was supposed to tell the public the full costs of the F-35 purchase: that the $10 billion it left out of the total was not a lie or even a mistake, but simply reflected its honest belief about how these things should be accounted, or at any rate always have been.
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©
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.