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  1. 9.6 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    The United States has two separate banking systems today―one serving the well-to-do and another exploiting everyone else. How the Other Half Banks contributes to the growing conversation on American inequality by highlighting one of its prime causes: unequal credit. Mehrsa Baradaran examines how a significant portion of the population, deserted by banks, is forced to wander through a Wild West of payday lenders and check-cashing services to cover emergency expenses and pay for necessities―all thanks to deregulation that began in the 1970s and continues decades later. In an age of corporate megabanks with trillions of dollars in assets, it is easy to forget that America’s banking system was originally created as a public service. Banks have always relied on credit from the federal government, provided on favorable terms so that they could issue low-interest loans. But as banks grew in size and political influence, they shed their social contract with the American people, demanding to be treated as a private industry free from any public-serving responsibility. They abandoned less profitable, low-income customers in favor of wealthier clients and high-yield investments. Fringe lenders stepped in to fill the void. This two-tier banking system has become even more unequal since the 2008 financial crisis. Baradaran proposes a solution: reenlisting the US Post Office in its historic function of providing bank services. The post office played an important but largely forgotten role in the creation of American democracy, and it could be deployed again to level the field of financial opportunity.

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    How the Other Half Banks by Mehrsa Baradaran

    How the Other Half Banks

    9.6 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 9.9 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    A provocative look at the world’s most difficult, seemingly ineradicable problems—and the surprising stories of the countries that solved them. We all know the bad news. Global warming escalates unchecked. National economies are only beginning to recover from the crash of 2008, and in most nations income inequality is growing faster than GDP. The promise of the Arab Spring has largely given way to civil wars and a refugee crisis. Open a newspaper, browse the titles in your bookstore, or click on cable news, and the dark tide will batter you like a tsunami. We are living in an age of unprecedented, irreversible decline—or so we’re constantly being told. Jonathan Tepperman’s The Fix is a lively and unconventional guide to the global solutions hiding in plain sight. It identifies ten pervasive and seemingly impossible challenges—including immigration reform, income inequality, political corruption, and Islamic terrorism—and shows that each has a solution, and not merely a hypothetical one. In his close analysis of government initiatives as diverse as Brazil’s Bolsa Família program, Lee Kuan Yew’s anti-corruption crusade, and Bloomberg’s reform of the NYPD, Tepperman isolates the universally applicable policy measures that have improved equality, incomes, and stability in wildly diverse societies. It flips conventional political wisdom, suggesting, for example, that the US Congress could learn a thing or two about compromise and conciliation from its Mexican counterpart. As the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, Tepperman is a journalist and policy advisor who has spent most of the last twenty years traveling and writing about international politics. His expertise makes The Fix a work of unusual insight. It is a necessary corrective to the hand-wringing and grim prognostication that dominates international affairs coverage, making a data-driven case for optimism in a time of crushing pessimism.

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    The Fix

    9.9 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 19.3 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    The first major biography of the irrepressible woman who changed the way we view and live in cities, and whose influence can still be felt in any discussion of urban planning to this day. Eyes on the Street is a revelation of the phenomenal woman who raised three children, wrote seven groundbreaking books, saved neighborhoods, stopped expressways, was arrested twice, and engaged at home and on the streets in thousands of debates—all of which she won. Here is the child who challenged her third-grade teacher; the high school poet; the journalist who honed her writing skills at Iron Age, Architectural Forum, Fortune, and other outlets, while amassing the knowledge she would draw upon to write her most famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Here, too, is the activist who helped lead an ultimately successful protest against Robert Moses’s proposed expressway through her beloved Greenwich Village; and who, in order to keep her sons out of the Vietnam War, moved to Canada, where she became as well known and admired as she was in the United States.

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    Eyes on the Street

    19.3 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 6.4 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on mathematical modeling—a pervasive new force in society that threatens to undermine democracy and widen inequality.   We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this shocking book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his race or neighborhood), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.   Tracing the arc of a person’s life, from college to retirement, O’Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. Models that score teachers and students, sort resumes, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health—all have pernicious feedback loops. They don’t simply describe reality, as proponents claim, they change reality, by expanding or limiting the opportunities people have. O’Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for how their algorithms are being used. But in the end, it’s up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.

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    Weapons of Math Destruction

    6.4 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 8.6 hrs • 7/5/2016 • Unabridged

    A New York Times bestseller A business leader and esteemed economic thinker outlines simple solutions to America’s five most pressing public policy issues, from healthcare to education to inequality. America today confronts a host of urgent problems, many of them seemingly intractable, but some we are entirely capable of solving. In Five Easy Theses, James M. Stone presents specific, common-sense solutions to a handful of our most pressing challenges, showing how simple it would be to shore up Social Security, rein in an out-of-control financial sector, reduce inequality, and make healthcare and education better and more affordable. The means are right in front of us, Stone explains, in various policy options that—if implemented—could preserve or enhance government revenue while also channeling the national economy toward the greater good. Accessible and thought provoking, Five Easy Theses reveals that a more democratic, prosperous America is well within our reach.

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    Five Easy Theses

    8.6 hrs • 7/5/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 7.4 hrs • 6/28/2016 • Unabridged

    From David Brat, the college professor who made political headlines when he unseated majority leader Eric Cantor, comes his plan for restoring fiscal liberty for America.Congressman David Brat’s odds-defying win against Eric Cantor—a triumph of a modest $200,000 campaign fund against a $5 million war chest—immediately brought David Brat, heretofore a liberal arts college economics professor, into the political limelight. Now, in his first book, American Underdog, Brat examines how we brought down the status quo by tapping into moral and economic lessons as old as our civilization and discusses how Washington can learn from history instead of ignoring it. A fighter for children, he illuminates how our current fiscal policies are selling their future, and outlines new ways to move forward with a conservative agenda that provides fairer treatment for all.

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    American Underdog

    7.4 hrs • 6/28/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 7.2 hrs • 6/21/2016 • Unabridged

    Blaze TV and top radio host Dana Loesch explains that the biggest political problem today is that the people who run this country have no idea what life is really like for ordinary Americans. In fact, they have contempt for the very people they claim to represent. When the owners of a small pizza parlor in Indiana were asked by the local press whether they would ever cater a gay wedding, they said no, citing their personal religious beliefs. The internet responded with immediate outrage, posting death threats and vicious online reviews, and forcing them to shut down. All for expressing a personal opinion rooted in faith, in response to a completely hypothetical question. A new front in the culture war had been opened. When the owners of the pizza parlor told Dana Loesch on a Blaze TV interview that they might never reopen, Loesch started a fundraising campaign. Hundreds of thousands of dollars quickly poured in to support them. The people donating weren’t taking a stand against gay rights; they just believed that a random mom-and-pop shop shouldn’t be run out of business because media and political elites on both coasts caricature and vilify rural Americans. Most of the problems with our country today can be traced to a very simple cause—the growing disconnect between the government and media elites and the rest of us, the old-fashioned, hard-working, God-fearing Americans who are proud to live in middle America. As Loesch explains, too many people getting on their high horse about Wal-Mart have never shopped in one. Protesters outraged at small town cops have never been helped by one. Environmentalists who claim to want to protect the spotted owl have never been in the woods with one. Atheists who attack committed Christians have never sat in a pew with one. Loesch doesn’t take aims solely at the Democrats; some Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail have also forgotten what life is like for the people back home. While these so-called leaders may have forgotten the people in coal towns and farming communities, the voters in those communities haven’t forgotten Washington’s betrayals. And it will show in 2016. As one of the most powerful and recognizable voices on talk radio today, Dana Loesch is leading a revolution of America’s new Silent Majority.

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    Flyover Nation

    7.2 hrs • 6/21/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 8.5 hrs • 5/31/2016 • Unabridged

    “I have learned that the story of a nation’s success, and the success of each one of us, is a slow awakening to the timeless value of the long game.” In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign, the young Republican hoped Reagan’s endorsement would give a much-needed boost to his campaign. Alas, when Reagan finally stepped to the microphone, he smiled for the crowd and declared: “I’m happy to be here with my good friend, Mitch O’Donnell.” That was hardly Mitch McConnell’s first setback, and far from his last. But as he learned running his very first campaign for high school student body president, you don’t have to be the most popular, most athletic, or even the luckiest kid to win. You just need to run the best campaign. So he swallowed hard, put his head down, and kept going. Four weeks later he won his Senate seat, beginning a storied career that would eventually lead to his becoming the Senate Majority Leader. The Long Game is the candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of a man famous for his discretion. He tells how his mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exercises every day for two years. He explains how his father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant taking the occasional punch. And he reveals what he really thinks about the rivalry between the Senate and the House; about the players and the stakes involved when a group of political opportunists tried to hijack the Tea Party movement; and about key figures such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid. He tells the inside story of the battle against Obamacare and explains the real causes of the chronic gridlock, his ongoing efforts to restore the US Senate, and what ordinary citizens have a right to expect from Washington. In today’s atmosphere of impatience and instant gratification, McConnell still believes the Founders knew best when they instituted a government with checks and balances. As he writes, “In the end, the goal isn’t a perfectly running congressional machine or a party without blemish or inner turmoil. The goal is to allow the country to work out its differences freely and energetically, confident that the institutions the Founders left us are capable of accommodating the disputes and disagreements that arise in a nation as big and diverse and open as ours.”

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    The Long Game

    8.5 hrs • 5/31/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 13.4 hrs • 5/17/2016 • Unabridged

    Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is how the misguided financial practices and philosophies that nearly toppled the global financial system have come to infiltrate ALL American businesses,  putting us on a collision course for another cataclysmic meltdown. Drawing on in-depth reporting and exclusive interviews at the highest rungs of Wall Street and Washington, Time assistant managing editor and economic columnist Rana Foroohar shows how the “financialization of America” - the trend by which finance and its way of thinking have come to reign supreme - is perpetuating Wall Street's reign over Main Street, widening the gap between rich and poor, and threatening the future of the American Dream. Policy makers get caught up in the details of regulating “Too Big To Fail” banks, but the problems in our market system go much broader and deeper than that. Consider that: · Thanks to 40 years of policy changes and bad decisions, only about 15 % of all the money in our market system actually ends up in the real economy – the rest stays within the closed loop of finance itself. · The financial sector takes a quarter of all corporate profits in this country while creating only 4 % of American jobs. · The tax code continues to favor debt over equity, making it easier for companies to hoard cash overseas rather than reinvest it on our shores. · Our biggest and most profitable corporations are investing more money in stock buybacks than in research and innovation. · And, still, the majority of the financial regulations promised after the 2008 meltdown have yet come to pass, thanks to cozy relationship between our lawmakers and the country’s wealthiest financiers.       Exploring these forces, which have have led American businesses to favor balancing-sheet engineering over the actual kind and the pursuit of short-term corporate profits over job creation, Foroohar shows how financialization has so gravely harmed our society, and why reversing this trend is of grave importance to us all. Through colorful stories of both "Takers” and "Makers,” she’ll reveal how we change the system for a better and more sustainable shared economic future.From the Hardcover edition.

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    Makers and Takers

    13.4 hrs • 5/17/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 5.3 hrs • 4/19/2016 • Unabridged

    How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success—and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy. Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones—and enormous income differences—over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways. But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year—more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you’ll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, uncontroversial steps. Compellingly readable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.

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    Success and Luck

    5.3 hrs • 4/19/16 • Unabridged
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  11. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.1 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling author of Currency Wars and The Death of Money comes a short, provocative argument for the enduring value of gold. James Rickards is the most visible, vocal, and intelligent proponent for the gold standard today, and his unwavering stance on gold’s value has drawn him hordes of lifelong fans. In The New Case for Gold Rickards explains why gold is one of the safest assets for investors in times of political instability and market volatility, and how every investor should look to add gold to his or her portfolio. He draws on historical case studies, monetary theory, and personal experience as an investor to argue that gold should be a part of any prudent investor’s portfolio. And he provides tools and mental models for how investors can make the case for gold to the skeptics in their lives.

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    The New Case for Gold

    4.1 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  12. 9.0 hrs • 2/16/2016 • Unabridged

    A passionate new voice in American politics, US Senator Cory Booker makes the case that the virtues of empathy, responsibility, and action must guide our nation toward a brighter future. Raised in northern New Jersey, Cory Booker went to Stanford University on a football scholarship, accepted a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, then studied at Yale Law School. Graduating from Yale, his options were limitless. He chose public service. He chose to move to a rough neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, where he worked as a tenants’ rights lawyer before winning a seat on the City Council. In 2006, he was elected mayor, and for more than seven years he was the public face of an American city that had gone decades with too little positive national attention and investment. In 2013, Booker became the first African American elected to represent New Jersey in the US Senate. In United, Cory Booker draws on personal experience to issue a stirring call to reorient our nation and our politics around the principles of compassion and solidarity. He speaks of rising above despair to engage with hope, pursuing our shared mission, and embracing our common destiny. Here is his account of his own political education, the moments—some entertaining, some heartbreaking, all of them enlightening—that have shaped his civic vision. Here are the lessons Booker learned from the remarkable people who inspired him to serve, men and women whose example fueled his desire to create opportunities for others. Here also are his observations on the issues he cares about most deeply, from race and crime and the crisis of mass incarceration to economic and environmental justice. “Hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word,” Booker writes in this galvanizing book. In a world where we too easily lose touch with our neighbors, he argues, we must remember that we all rise or fall together—and that we must move beyond mere tolerance for one another toward a deeper connection: love.

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    United

    9.0 hrs • 2/16/16 • Unabridged
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  13. 0 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5
    12.4 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    Shocking bestseller: the original version of this astonishing tell-all book spent seventy-three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than 1.25 million copies, and has been translated into thirty-two languages. New revelations: featuring fifteen explosive new chapters, this expanded edition of Perkins’ classic bestseller brings the story of economic hit men (EHMs) up to date and, chillingly, home to the US. Over forty percent of the book is new, including chapters identifying today’s EHMs and a detailed chronology extensively documenting EHM activity since the first edition was published in 2004. Former economic hit man John Perkins shares new details about the ways he and others cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Then he reveals how the deadly EHM cancer he helped create has spread far more widely and deeply than ever in the United States and everywhere else—to become the dominant system of business, government, and society today. Finally, he gives an insider view of what we each can do to change it. Economic hit men are the shock troops of what Perkins calls the corporatocracy, a vast network of corporations, banks, colluding governments, and the rich and powerful people tied to them. If the EHMs can’t maintain the corrupt status quo through nonviolent coercion, the jackal assassins swoop in. The heart of this book is a completely new section, over 100 pages long, that exposes the fact that all the EHM and jackal tools—false economics, false promises, threats, bribes, extortion, debt, deception, coups, assassinations, unbridled military power—are used around the world today exponentially more than during the era Perkins exposed over a decade ago. The material in this new section ranges from the Seychelles, Honduras, Ecuador, and Libya to Turkey, Western Europe, Vietnam, China, and, in perhaps the most unexpected and sinister development, the United States, where the new EHMs—bankers, lobbyists, corporate executives, and others—“con governments and the public into submitting to policies that make the rich richer and the poor poorer.” But as dark as the story gets, this reformed EHM also provides hope. Perkins offers a detailed list of specific actions each of us can take to transform what he calls a failing Death Economy into a Life Economy that provides sustainable abundance for all.

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    The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins

    The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    12.4 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  14. 11.3 hrs • 11/10/2015 • Unabridged

    The #1 New York Times bestselling author and firebrand syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin sets her sights on the corrupt businessmen, politicians, and lobbyists flooding our borders and selling out America’s best and brightest workers. In Sold Out, Michelle Malkin and John Miano reveal the worst perpetrators screwing America’s high-skilled workers, how and why they’re doing it—and what we must do to stop them. In this book, they will name names and expose the lies of those who pretend to champion the middle class, while aiding and abetting massive layoffs of highly skilled American workers in favor of cheap foreign labor. Malkin and Miano will explode some of the most commonly told myths spread in the media like these: Lie #1: America is suffering from an apocalyptic “shortage” of science, technology, engineering, and math workers. Lie #2: US companies cannot function without an unlimited injection of the most “highly skilled” and “highly educated” foreign workers, who offer intellectual capital and entrepreneurial energy that American workers can’t match. Lie #3: America’s best and brightest talents are protected because employers are required to demonstrate that they’ve made every effort to hire American citizens before resorting to foreign labor. For too long, open-borders tech billionaires and their political enablers have escaped tough public scrutiny of their means and motives. Sold Out is an indictment of not only political corruption in Washington, but also the journalistic malpractice that enables it. It’s time to trade the whitewash for solvent. American workers deserve better and the public deserves the unvarnished truth.

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    Sold Out

    Introduction read by Michelle Malkin
    11.3 hrs • 11/10/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    5.9 hrs • 11/2/2015 • Unabridged

    Inequality is a choice. The United States bills itself as the land of opportunity, a place where anyone can achieve success and a better life through hard work and determination. But the facts tell a different story—the US today lags behind most other developed nations in measures of inequality and economic mobility. For decades, wages have stagnated for the majority of workers while economic gains have disproportionately gone to the top one percent. Education, housing, and health care—essential ingredients for individual success—are growing ever more expensive. Deeply rooted structural discrimination continues to hold down women and people of color, and more than one-fifth of all American children now live in poverty. These trends are on track to become even worse in the future. Some economists claim that today’s bleak conditions are inevitable consequences of market outcomes, globalization, and technological progress. If we want greater equality, they argue, we have to sacrifice growth. This is simply not true. American inequality is the result of misguided structural rules that actually constrict economic growth. We have stripped away worker protections and family support systems, created a tax system that rewards short-term gains over long-term investment, offered a de facto public safety net to too-big-to-fail financial institutions, and chosen monetary and fiscal policies that promote wealth over full employment.

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    Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy

    5.9 hrs • 11/2/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 4.4 hrs • 11/1/2015 • Unabridged

    The word “sustainability” has been connected to everything from a certain kind of economic development to corporate promises about improved supply sourcing. But despite the apparent ubiquity of the term, the concept of sustainability has come to mean a number of specific things. In this accessible guide to the meanings of sustainability, Kent Portney describes the evolution of the idea and examines its application in a variety of contemporary contexts—from economic growth and consumption to government policy and urban planning. Portney takes as his starting point the 1987 definition of sustainability by the World Commission on Environment and Development as economic development activity that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” At its heart, Portney explains, sustainability focuses on the use and depletion of natural resources. It is not the same as environmental protection or natural resource conservation; it is more about finding some sort of steady state so that the earth can support both human population and economic growth. Topics covered by Portney include:Political opposition to the promotion of sustainability, which usually questions the need for sustainability or calls its costs unacceptable;Collective and individual consumption of material goods and resources and to what extent they must be curtailed to achieve sustainability;The role of the private sector and the co-opting of sustainability by corporations;Government policy on sustainability at the international, national, and subnational levels; andHow cities could become models for sustainability action.

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    Sustainability by Kent E. Portnoy, Kent E. Portney
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