Smart Links 29 April 2012

Commentary on economic shit, Germany and the Euro, South Korea about to be richer than Japan, the Catholic Church and the ‘when you are a person’ question, and should we debate when does life begin?

Economist comedian Yoran Bauman explains economics. Thanks to our great friend Nancy of Impolitical.

youtube -- S*** happens: The economics version
Filmed at the 2012 American Economic Association humor session in Chicago, Jan 7, 2012.

With austerity being challenged across Europe, Germany holds fast.

Spiegel -- 'Europe Could Economize Itself to Death'
There are signs of growing dissatisfaction in Europe over the austerity measures pushed by Germany and other countries to solve the euro-zone debt crisis. But German editorialists bristle on Thursday at calls to stimulate growth and a proposal to let the ECB lend directly to banks in trouble.

Quote worth telling your kids.

“I want to say clearly, it is not the case that we say saving solves every problem, but if you at home talk about how you want to shape your life tolerably, then one of the first conditions is that you somehow get by with what you earn.” -- Angela Merkel

Japan’s 20 year decline (it’s forever) is now translating into being passed by South Korea as richer per head.

Economist -- A game of leapfrog
South Korea may soon be richer than Japan.

The world according to celibate men.

The Atlantic -- Should Catholic Schools Be Able to Fire Teachers Over Fertility Treatments?
A priest explains the Church's stance on assisted reproduction -- and the internal politics that cost an Indiana woman her job.

Hedy Fry’s opposition to Motion #312.

Dr. Hedy Fry opposes the Conservative motion to re-open the abortion debate
Debate on Conservative Motion No. 312 (April 26, 2012).

Gordon O’Connor’s (Minister of State and Chief Government Whip) opposition to Motion #312.

Open Parliament -- Madam Speaker, I offer my response to Motion No. 312.
The issue before us, in essence, is on what it is to be human.

But can the question be left untouched? What is the right question?

National Post -- The idea we can’t debate abortion is unworthy of a democratic country
Finding for the appellants in Regina v. Morgentaler, Justice Bertha Wilson nevertheless found herself in agreement with the Crown, that “the situation respecting a woman’s right to control her own person becomes more complex when she becomes pregnant, and some statutory control may be appropriate.”

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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.