Smart Links 15 February 2012
Commentary on Republican lunacy, gold’s lack of value, religion and the 2012 Presidential election, energy independence and the US dollar, a bear view, and Vic Toews’ silly framing.
New York Review of Books -- Contraception’s Con Men
By a revolting combination of con men and fanatics, the current primary race has become a demonstration that the Republican party does not deserve serious consideration for public office
The weak hedge, gold.
Economist -- A gold puzzle
I can think of only two good reasons gold is valuable: it’s shiny and scarce. I reckon its popularity is a relic of the gold standard.
Religion takes centre stage.
New Yorker -- The Candidates at Prayer
“I wake up each morning and I say a brief prayer, and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion,” Obama said earlier this month at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Energy independence and the US dollar.
Financial Times -- Dollar bears in for shock if US cuts energy imports
The future of the dollar is more likely to be determined in the shale gas and oilfields of Dakota and Texas than in the sovereign wealth funds of Asia and the Middle East.
David Rosenberg remains very worried.
zerohedge -- David Rosenberg - "Let's Get Real - Risks Are Looming Big Time"
Earlier, you heard it from Jeff Gundlach, whom one can not accuse (at least not yet) of sleeping on his laurels and/or being a broken watch, who told his listeners to "reduce risk right now" especially in the frenzied momo stocks.
Globe and Mail -- 'Snoop and spy' bill could be costly overreach
Vic Toews, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, has framed any debate of the Conservative government's new lawful access bill in the simplest terms: Canadians can either stand with the government, or with child pornographers.
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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.