Smart Links 31 December 2011
Commentary on how dictators think, the beauty of reading, this year, Chinese protests, and authenticity.
Blame Canada or whatever.
Telegraph -- From Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez: with great power comes truly great paranoia
Plainly lunatic ideas can take on serious importance when no one contradicts you.
Related. (ed’s note – good riddance).
Independent -- Bonfire of the dictators
In the last part of our series, Robert Fisk ponders the fate of the despots who fought grimly against a revolutionary tide.
Guardian -- Humans have the need to read
It doesn't matter if books are delivered in print or by smartphone, the main thing is to get lost in reading them.
Doug Noland on 2011.
Prudent Bear -- 2011 in Review
Coming into the year, I held to the thesis that 2011 was a “Bubble Year.”
New York Review of Books -- Do China’s Village Protests Help the Regime?
Over the past two weeks, the western press has focused on a striking story out of China: a riveting series of protests in Wukan, a fishing village in the country’s prosperous south.
Is it his?
London Review of Books -- The Chill of Disillusion
In the middle room of the Leonardo show at the National Gallery you can swivel on one heel and see, almost simultaneously, the two versions of his Virgin of the Rocks.
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©
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.