CHAPTER 20 Achieving Wisdom While Avoiding the Mistakes of Experience

Earth has existed for at least 4 billion years. The first humans appeared in Africa perhaps 4 million years ago. Climate changes affecting glaciers apparently caused a group of anatomically modern humans to walk out of Southeast Africa’s environmentally unique cradle and begin populating the rest of the world about 40,000 years ago. We started this discussion with a definition of fraud that might be 4,000 years old. It’s been about 400 years since dissatisfaction with royal rule began the process leading to England’s current constitutional monarchy. The United States will soon be 240 years old—a very young nation by most historical measures, but still the world’s oldest truly democratic republic.

The United States has only 40 years’ experience (one-sixth of its lifespan) with pursuing a workable legal foundation for stable financial markets. The American model promises to replace the bank monopolies by which emperors, kings, priests, and other despots ruled by controlling money (and thereby all people who need and use it). In that tiny span of 40 years, the United States and world economies have sorted out trade and human population imbalances that are monumental.

Any reasonable look at economic and life expectancy data for the past 200 years shows strides toward health and wealth that are unsurpassed in world history. Much of the success in making the world healthier and wealthier occurred during just the ...

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