Smart Links 20 April 2012

Commentary on having something to read, the irrational forces behind the market, France looks left, Japan’s looming ideological debate, sorting out America’s job data, and the long road ahead for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Where the best libraries can be sometimes found.

New York Review of Books -- The Bathroom Muse
If you are like me, you must always have something to read in the bathroom.

Excellent piece on how investment professionals who worry about being mavericks invest in herds creating huge market inefficiencies.

Pdf below -- My Sister's Pension Assets and Angency Problem

François Hollande looks like he will win.

Guardian -- French elections: Sauce Hollandaise
The first round of an election will take place on Sunday that has the capacity not only to change the face of politics in France but Europe too.

Something maybe stirring in Japan. (ed’s note – although we are skeptical that a 5 day visit is sufficient).

Financial Times -- A shrill debate in ‘the land of consensus’
A few days ago, a man named Koizumi stood up in the Japanese parliament to vote against a bill.

Three different employment pictures.

Financial Times -- America: A workforce on the wane
As unemployment returns from high recessionary levels, it is becoming clear that millions in the US have left the jobs market.

Time for radical thinking?

National Post -- Liberals fail to grasp direness of their situation, nearly a year after collapse
So that’s settled, then: Mark Carney will not be leaving the Bank of Canada, but will remain at his post, at the least to the end of his term. This will disappoint those who were hoping to lure him away to the Bank of England, but not half so much as it will disappoint those Liberals who were hoping he would come lead their party.






My Sister's Pension Assets and Angency Problems.pdf110.34 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.