Smart Links 17 April 2012

Commentary on books on inequality and politics, George Soros on the European mess, crazy tax world, China versus the internet, do sex categories matter, and copying the Charter.

Typically marvellous New Yorker article on all the books out there about inequality, conservatives and liberals both get punched in the nose.

New Yorker -- Evening the Odds
Is there a politics of inequality?

With Spanish yields rising, George Soros speaks about Europe.

Business Insider -- George Soros Nails It: Why The Situation In Europe Is Only Getting Worse
In his speech at the Institute For New Economic Thinking conference in Berlin, George Soros delivered one of the best and most concise assessments of what went wrong in Europe, and why things are getting worse.


Pdf below -- George Soros on Europe


Economist -- European economy guide
Polarised prospects.

This article about the Bank of New York, a mid-tier US bank, which transferred nearly $8bn of its own assets to a trust in the small, business-friendly state of Delaware through several layers of newly created companies in order to take advantage of tax loopholes underlines how complicated and unfair the tax code has become.

Financial Times -- Global taxation: Fiscal frustrations
A clampdown on a tax structure used by banks will test US efforts to curb cross-border schemes.

The Chinese state can’t win.

Guardian -- China's censorship can never defeat the internet
It is interesting to pick one's way through the obstacles of censorship, but freedom can't be stopped in the internet age.

‘Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls’ – Blur

Project Syndicate -- How Much Should Sex Matter?
Jenna Talackova reached the finals of Miss Universe Canada last month, before being disqualified because she was not a “natural born” female.

John Ibbitson on The Charter.

Globe and Mail -- The Charter proves to be Canada’s gift to world
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed 30 years ago Tuesday. Since then, not only has it become a national bedrock, but the Charter has replaced the American Bill of Rights as the constitutional document most emulated by other nations.



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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.