Smart Links 19 March 2012

Commentary on different ways to think about the global economic crisis, unleashing the market, what could Obama have done differently, the benefits of bilingualism, funding partisan politics, and trashing Bob.

Crisis what crisis? (ed’s note – societies that supress economic outcomes or fail to create intergenerational mobility will find themselves in crisis).

Financial Times -- America’s three takes on the crisis
Is capitalism in crisis? The question, posed earlier this year in a series of articles in the Financial Times, is suddenly commonplace.

Go capitalist or go home.

Telegraph -- What Britain needs now is a celebration of the 'big capitalist society'
The Chancellor has two tasks in this budget — to put in place measures that will provide growth as well as tackling debt and put flesh on the bones of the economic vision that will shape policy in the coming years.


Economist -- Unlocking companies’ cash
The chancellor’s budget measures should focus on spurring investment by cash-rich firms.

In politics timing is almost everything and your friends.

New Yorker -- Replay
 As he faced an ailing economy, what could Obama have done differently?


New York Times -- Obama’s Economists, Not Stimulating Enough
Much has already been written about President Obama’s economic team, and much of it has been highly critical.


Parlez-vous francaise?

New York Times -- Why Bilinguals Are Smarter
SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world.


Independent -- Rupert Cornwell: Big money takes aim at the heart of Washington
Out of America: Party political bankrollers are mounting a takeover of think tanks. If they succeed, US politics will become more partisan than ever.

Related. (ed’s note -- Rae took office at a time when Ontario's manufacturing sector was being savagely restructured because of the free trade agreement, when John Crow was applying a Paul Volker-like squeeze to inflation, and when the US economy was in recession. No premier could have prevented what happened to the Ontario economy).

Sun News -- Conservative ads target Bob Rae's NDP economic record
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae's economic record as NDP premier of Ontario in the 1990s comes back to haunt him in a black-and-white television attack ad the Conservative party will air in key markets starting Tuesday.

Times Colonist -- Keep a Cool Head About Gas

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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.