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Like it or not, money matters and you can find out why

By Edward A. Hirst
Rowan Public Library
“Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it’s the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it’s the chains of labor.”
In “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World,” Niall Ferguson reveals that finance is the foundation of human progress and shows how financial history is an essential part of all history.
The author explains that for civilization to flourish, the evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological advances, that banks provided the material basis for the magnificence of the Italian Renaissance and how financial failure propelled Argentina from the sixth richest country into a financial basket case.
He explains that the most important lesson to learn from financial history is that sooner or later, every bubble bursts, and why there has never been a better time to understand the history of money than now.
In “A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World,” Gregory Clark writes about why some parts of the world are so poor and others are so rich.
He suggests that deep cultural changes brought about by the development of stable political, legal and economic institutions was the reason people gave up their hunter-gatherer ways and adopted the economic habits of hard work, rationality and education.
The problem, Clark says, is that only societies that have long histories of settlement and security seem to develop the cultural characteristics and effective workforces that enable economic growth. For the many societies that have not enjoyed long periods of stability, industrialization has not been a blessing.”The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created,” by William J. Bernstein, looks at the key conditions that had to be in place before world economic growth ó and the technological progress underlying it ó could occur, why those pathways are still absent in many parts of today’s world, and what must be done before true, universal prosperity can become a reality.
He details how four conditions, occurring at the same time, is the success formula for human progress: “Property rights ó creators must have proper incentives to create scientific rationalism; Innovators must be allowed to innovate without fear of retribution; Capital markets ó entrepreneurs must be given access to capital to pursue their visions; Transportation/Communication ó society must provide mechanisms for effective communication of ideas and transport of finished products.”You can brush up on your financial history with these books and others at Rowan Public Library.
Holiday closings: All library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and reopen Jan. 2.
Tuesday Night at the Movies: All movies are at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, “Silk Stockings,” with Cyd Charisse.
All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Displays: Headquarters ó Kwanzaa by Eleanor Qadirah and jewelry by Paul Thompson; South ó Christmas by Tammie Foster; East ó Jr. Poppy Education by AL Unit 112.Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.
Web site: For a listing of all library programs at all library locations, www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

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