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Economic Policy

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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. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 8.4 hrs • 9/8/2015 • Unabridged

    In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in the country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of income inequality: the production of wealth. We cannot properly understand inequality if we focus exclusively on the distribution of wealth and ignore wealth production factors such as geography, demography, and culture. Sowell contends that liberals have a particular interest in misreading the data and chastises them for using income inequality as an argument for the welfare state. Refuting Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman, and others, Sowell draws on empirical data to show that the inequality is not nearly as extreme or sensational as we have been led to believe. Transcending partisanship through a careful examination of data, Wealth, Poverty, and Politics reveals the truth about the most explosive political issue of our time.

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    Wealth, Poverty, and Politics by Thomas Sowell

    Wealth, Poverty, and Politics

    8.4 hrs • 9/8/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 24.3 hrs • 8/21/2015 • Unabridged

    This is the classic exposé of the Fed that has become one of the best-selling books in its category of all time. Where does money come from? Where does it go? Who makes it? The money magician’s secrets are unveiled. Here is a close look at their mirrors and smoke machines, the pulleys, cogs, and wheels that create the grand illusion called money. A boring subject? Just wait. You’ll be hooked in five minutes. It reads like a detective story—which it really is, but it’s all true. This book is about the most blatant scam of history. It’s all here: the cause of wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression, prosperity. Your world view will definitely change. Putting it quite simply, this may be the most important book on world affairs you will ever read. The fifth edition includes a no-holds-barred analysis of bank bailouts under the Bush and Obama Administrations that are shown to be nothing less than legalized plunder of the American people. Many other updates have been added, including a revision to the list of those who attended the historic meeting at Jekyll Island where the Federal Reserve was created.

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  12. 8.2 hrs • 7/14/2015 • Unabridged

    The prominent economist and president of the American Enterprise Institute—the leading intellectual think tank on the right—offers a bold new vision for conservatism as a movement for social and economic justice. In The Conservative Heart, Arthur C. Brooks contends that after years of focusing on economic growth and traditional social values, it is time for a new kind of conservatism—one that helps the vulnerable without mortgaging our children’s future. In Brooks’ daring vision, this conservative movement fights poverty, promotes equal opportunity, celebrates earned success, and values spiritual enlightenment. It is an inclusive movement with a positive agenda to help people lead happier, more hopeful, and more satisfied lives. One of the country’s leading scholars and policy thinkers, Brooks has considered these issues for decades. Drawing on years of research on the sources of happiness, he asserts that what people most need are four “institutions of meaning”—faith, family, community, and meaningful work. These are not only the foundations of personal well-being, but also the necessary means for building a better nation. Combining reporting, original research, and case studies, and free of vituperative politics, The Conservative Heart is an intelligent and compelling manifesto for renewal. Clear, well-reasoned, and accessible, it is a welcome new strategy for disconsolate conservatives looking for fresh, actionable ideas to address the serious problems confronting us today and to reclaim our future, and it is for politically independent citizens who believe that neither political party addresses their needs or concerns.

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    The Conservative Heart by Arthur C. Brooks

    The Conservative Heart

    8.2 hrs • 7/14/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 6.5 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    From childhood, we’re taught one central, noncontroversial idea about morality: self-sacrifice is a virtue. It is universally accepted that serving the needs of others, rather than our own, is the essence of morality. To be ethical—it is believed—is to be altruistic. Questioning this belief is regarded as tantamount to questioning the self-evident. Here, Peter Schwartz questions it. In Defense of Selfishness refutes widespread misconceptions about the meaning of selfishness and of altruism. Basing his arguments on Ayn Rand’s ethics of rational self-interest, Schwartz demonstrates that genuine selfishness is not exemplified by the brutal plundering of an Attila the Hun or the conniving duplicity of a Bernard Madoff. To the contrary, such people are acting against their actual, long-range interests. The truly selfish individual is committed to moral principles and lives an honest, productive, self-respecting life. He does not feed parasitically off other people. Instead, he renounces the unearned, and deals with others—in both the material and spiritual realms—by offering value for value, to mutual benefit. The selfish individual, Schwartz maintains, lives by reason, not force. He lives by production and trade, not by theft and fraud. He disavows the mindlessness of the do-whatever-you-feel-like emotionalist, and upholds rationality as his primary virtue. He takes pride in his achievements, and does not sacrifice himself to others—nor does he sacrifice others to himself. According to the code of altruism, however, you must embrace self-sacrifice. You must subordinate yourself to others. Altruism calls, not for cooperation and benevolence, but for servitude. It demands that you surrender your interests to the needs of others, that you regard serving others as the moral justification of your existence, that you be willing to suffer so that a non-you might benefit. To this, Schwartz asks simply: Why? Why should the fact that you have achieved any success make you indebted to those who haven’t? Why does the fact that someone needs your money create a moral entitlement to it, while the fact that you’ve earned it, doesn’t? Using vivid, real-life examples, In Defense of Selfishness illustrates the iniquity of requiring one man to serve the needs of another. This provocative book challenges readers to re-examine the standard by which they decide what is morally right or wrong.

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    In Defense of Selfishness

    6.5 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
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  14. 8.4 hrs • 3/31/2015 • Unabridged

    A growing chorus of prominent voices in Congress and elsewhere are calling for the expansion of our Social Security system—people who know that Social Security will not “go broke” and does not add a penny to the national debt. Social Security Works! will amplify these voices and offer a powerful antidote to the three-decade-long, billionaire-funded campaign to make us believe that this vital institution is destined to collapse. It isn’t. From the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, from Generation X to Millennials and Generation Z, we all have a stake in understanding the real story about Social Security. Critical to addressing the looming retirement crisis that will affect two-thirds of today’s workers, Social Security is a powerful program that can help stop the collapse of the middle class, lessen the pressure squeezing families from all directions, and help end the upward redistribution of wealth that has resulted in perilous levels of inequality. All Americans deserve to have dignified retirement years as well as an umbrella to protect them and their families in the event of disability or premature death. Sure to be a game changer, Social Security Works! cogently presents the issues and sets forth both an agenda and a political strategy that will benefit us all. At stake are our values and the kind of country we want for ourselves and for those that follow.

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    Social Security Works!

    Foreword by David Cay Johnston
    Read by Joyce Bean
    8.4 hrs • 3/31/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 10.3 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    A groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was.  Robert Putnam offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis. Putnam begins with his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. By and large the vast majority of those students—“our kids”—went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book.  Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence. Putnam provides a disturbing account of the American dream that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country.

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    Our Kids

    10.3 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 2.2 hrs • 3/1/2015 • Unabridged

    Enough of the imbalance that is causing the degradation of our environment, the demise of our democracies, and the denigration of ourselves. Enough of the pendulum politics of left and right and paralysis in the political center. We require an unprecedented form of radical renewal. Henry Mintzberg offers a new understanding of the root of our current crisis and a strategy for restoring the balance so vital to the survival of our progeny and our planet. With the collapse of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, Western pundits declared that capitalism had triumphed. They were wrong—balance triumphed. A healthy society balances a public sector of respected governments, a private sector of responsible businesses, and a plural sector of robust communities. Communism collapsed under the weight of its overbearing public sector. Now the “liberal democracies” are threatened—socially, politically, even economically—by the unchecked excesses of the private sector. Radical renewal will have to begin in the plural sector, which alone has the inclination and the independence to challenge unacceptable practices and develop better ones. Too many governments have been co-opted by the private sector. And corporate social responsibility can’t compensate for the corporate social irresponsibility we see around us. They won’t do it. We shall have to do it, each of us and all of us, not as passive human resources, but as resourceful human beings. Tom Paine wrote in 1776, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” He was right then. Can we be right again now? Can we afford not to be?

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    Rebalancing Society

    2.2 hrs • 3/1/15 • Unabridged
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