Beyond soundbites: "There’s so much potential for political parties, who are more and more thought to be hollow, soulless things, to allow their MPs to show what they actually believe in and engage with people. Soundbites were useful when someone else controlled how much time you had to make your point, but now there’s no limit to how long MPs can spend arguing their case." Anna Winter on how technology is transforming politics.
How to win a Republican primary: "To survive a Republican debate you are required to hold the incoherent view that the budget should be balanced immediately, taxes cut dramatically, and the major categories of spending (the military, Social Security, Medicare) left largely intact. There is no way to make these numbers add up, and the candidates do not try, relying instead on focus-group tested denunciations of Obama and abstract hostility to the ways of Washington." Jacob Weisberg, Slate.
Are traditional media institutions worth saving? In an age of internet-enabled networks, should established media institutions be allowed to wither away? Dean Starkman says no. Gary Sauer-Thompson isn’t convinced: "Most journalism takes the form of infotainment or partisan political commentary; operates within narrow intellectual boundaries; favours ‘he said she said’ analysis; avoids public policy issues; and doesn’t even bother with facts anymore. Honestly, not much public-interest reporting is produced in Australia’s existing media institutions."
Mr Denmore’s 12-step program for junk media junkies in 2012: Stop watching Q&A, turn off the Insiders, ignore the polls and spend more time at the pub. But what about Andrew Bolt?
Justice without borders: Does justice require rich countries to redistribute resources to poor ones? At Oz Conservative Mark Richardson discusses Kok-Chor Tan’s book, Toleration, Diversity and Global Justice.
What if poor people don’t like money? According to Greg Mankiw: "one reason that people differ in their incomes is that some people care more about having a high income than others." In a post about Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, Bryan Caplan argues that "Leftist outrage over income inequality is therefore deeply misguided." Why? because when you think of low-income people as losers: "you’re falsely assuming that we’re all racing for the same finish line: material success."
Upwards redistribution: "People are inclined to give much more legitimacy to market outcomes than policy outcomes engineered by governments. That is why there is a whole industry devoted to convincing people that the upward redistribution of income over the last three decades, which has given the bulk of economic gains to the One Percent, is really just the result of the natural workings of the market." Dean Baker, CEPR.
Peter Martin’s pursuit of power: Peter Martin discovers an Australian-style powerpoint in Argentina. Argentina is one of a handful of countries (including China) that use the same plug design as Australia.