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Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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Introduction: Finance, Stewardship, and Our Goals

What are we to make of a book called Finance and the Good Society? To some readers, this may seem an incongruous coupling of concepts. The word finance is commonly thought of as the science and practice of wealth management—of enlarging portfolios, managing their risks and tax liabilities, ensuring that the rich grow richer. We will revisit—and challenge—this definition of finance later in this chapter. The phrase good society is a term used by generations of philosophers, historians, and economists to describe the kind of society in which we should aspire to live; it is usually understood as an egalitarian society, one in which all people respect and appreciate each other. So at first glance ...

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