Smart Links 28 April 2012

Commentary on the great growing global middle class, getting older, France accelerates towards a socialist abyss, the slow drip of Thatcherism, ThickAsABrick2.0, and the Prime Minister's silly cats.

The rise of the middle class.

Financial Times -- The great middle class power grab
I keep stumbling across unswerving predictions that the future belongs to China.


Economist -- Meaty facts
The Earth Policy Institute, an environmental research group, has pulled together some fascinating data from the US Department of Agriculture on meat consumption in China and America.

Great Google fact tool: rising life expectancy.

Life expectancy

The real cochon. (ed’s note – from PIGS to FIGS?).

The Globalist -- The French Road to Perdition
In the beginning of the European debt crisis, all eyes were focused on Greece.

Let the state regulate and the market provide.

Financial Times -- Outsourcing the state: A less uniform approach
The UK is battling to navigate the political perils of tinkering with the welfare state.

Ian Anderson (flutist front man for Jethro Tull) is bringing back Thick as a Brick.

Yahoo News -- Jethro Tull gets thicker on "Brick 2"
One thing that never really dies is a truly progressive rock album.


Thick as Brick

And while we’re at it.

 Jethro Tull -- Locomotive Breath

When will Stephen gather up all those loose cats?

Macleans -- Mr. Harper is not pleased
Let us connect the dots. I think it’s been a damned interesting week.

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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.