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The Balance of Nature?
Ecological Issues in the Conservation of Species and Communities
Stuart L. Pimm
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Ecologists, although they acknowledge the problems involved, generally conduct their research on too few species, in too small an area, over too short a period of time. In The Balance of Nature?, a work sure to stir controversy, the distinguished theoretical ecologist Stuart L. Pimm argues that ecology therefore fails in many ways to address the enormous ecological problems now facing our planet.

Ecologists describing phenomena on larger scales often use terms like "stability," "balance of nature," and "fragility," and Pimm begins by considering the various specific meanings of these terms. He addresses five kinds of ecological stability—stability in the strict sense, resilience, variability, persistence, and resistance—and shows how they provide ways of comparing natural populations and communities as well as theories about them. Each type of stability depends on characteristics of the species studied and also on the structure of the food web in which the species is embedded and the physical features of the environment.

The Balance of Nature? provides theoretical ecology with a rich array of questions—questions that also underpin pressing problems in practical conservation biology. Pimm calls for nothing less than new approaches to ecology and a new alliance between theoretical and empirical studies.

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Balance of Power
Central Banks and the Fate of Democracies
Éric Monnet
University of Chicago Press, 2024
Central banks now stand between societies and collapse, but are they still democratic?

Two decades of financial crises have dramatically expanded central banks’ powers. In 2008, and then again in 2020, unelected banking officials found themselves suddenly responsible for the public welfare—not just because it was necessary but based on an idea that their independence from political systems would insulate them from the whims of populism. Now, as international crises continue and the scope of monetary interventions grows in response, these bankers have become increasingly powerful.

In Balance of Power, economist and historian Éric Monnet charts the rise of central banks as the nominally independent—but unavoidably political—superpowers of modern societies. This trajectory, Monnet argues, is neither inevitable nor unstoppable. By embracing the political natures of today’s central banks, we can construct systems of accountability for how they interact with states and societies. Monnet shows that this effort will do more than guard against unjust power; it will put the banks to work for greater, more democratic ends.

With existential challenges looming and the work of the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank more important than ever, Balance of Power offers a trenchant case for what this century’s central banks can—and must—become.

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British Monetary Policy and the Balance of Payments, 1951–1957
Peter B. Kenen
Harvard University Press
A detailed study of the revolution in Bank of England policy resulting from the government’s response to the 1954–55 balance-of-payments crisis, this is a first independent analysis. The author investigates the evolution of official thinking and appraises the impact of monetary policy in this crucial period. Peter Kenen reaches the unexpected conclusion that the Bank’s orthodox monetary policies played a relatively small part in the redress of payments disequilibrium, and that its most effective weapons were its most heterodox. Finally, he proposes ways in which the Bank of England can better control the credit base.

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China's Rise and the Balance of Influence in Asia
William W. Keller
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007

China's protracted boom and political transformation is a major episode in the history of global political economy.  Beginning in the late 1970s, China experienced a quarter century of extraordinary growth that raised every indicator of material welfare, lifted several hundred million out of poverty, and rocketed China from near autarky to regional and even global prominence.  These striking developments transformed China into a major U.S. trade and investment partner, a regional military power, and a major influence on national economies and cross-national interchange throughout the Pacific region.  Beijing has emerged as a voice for East Asian economic interests and an arbiter in regional and even global diplomacy-from the Asian financial crisis to the North Korean nuclear talks.  China's accession to the World Trade Organization promises to accentuate these trends.

The contributors to this volume provide a multifaceted examination of China in the areas of economics, trade, investment, politics, diplomacy, technology, and security, affording a greater understanding of what relevant policies the United States must develop.  This book offers a counterweight to overwrought concerns about the emerging “Chinese threat” and makes the case for viewing China as a force for stability in the twenty-first century.


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Environment in the Balance
The Green Movement and the Supreme Court
Jonathan Z. Cannon
Harvard University Press, 2015

The first Earth Day in 1970 marked environmentalism’s coming-of-age in the United States. More than four decades later, does the green movement remain a transformative force in American life? Presenting a new account from a legal perspective, Environment in the Balance interprets a wide range of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, along with social science research and the literature of the movement, to gauge the practical and cultural impact of environmentalism and its future prospects.

Jonathan Z. Cannon demonstrates that from the 1960s onward, the Court’s rulings on such legal issues as federalism, landowners’ rights, standing, and the scope of regulatory authority have reflected deep-seated cultural differences brought out by the mass movement to protect the environment. In the early years, environmentalists won some important victories, such as the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision allowing them to sue against barriers to recycling. But over time the Court has become more skeptical of their claims and more solicitous of values embodied in private property rights, technological mastery and economic growth, and limited government.

Today, facing the looming threat of global warming, environmentalists struggle to break through a cultural stalemate that threatens their goals. Cannon describes the current ferment in the movement, and chronicles efforts to broaden its cultural appeal while staying connected to its historical roots, and to ideas of nature that have been the source of its distinctive energy and purpose.


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Equal Justice in the Balance
America's Legal Responses to the Emerging Terrorist Threat
Raneta Lawson Mack and Michael J. Kelly
University of Michigan Press, 2004
"We are in difficult times for the protection of our liberties. Nonetheless, citizens are showing an increased willingness to resist the erosion of the U.S. Constitution. . . . Lawson Mack and Kelly stress the importance of not giving up these fundamental rights and conclude with a message of optimism, noting an increased backlash against the administration's more draconian measures. Although the landscape is still quite bleak, change is in the air."
-Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights, from the foreword

"A compelling and sophisticated critique of the U.S. government's post-9/11 actions. Mack and Kelly set the stage with the historical perspective on America's response to terrorism and the assessment of terrorist threats, before launching into a comprehensive analysis of the USA Patriot Act. Their hard-hitting approach and easy-to-read style makes for a fascinating treatment of the government's legislative and executive response to the attacks."
-Michael P. Scharf, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

With its sweeping critique of the USA Patriot Act and the Bush administration's maneuvers in pursuit of terrorists, Equal Justice in the Balance is a sobering and exacting look at American legal responses to terrorism, both before and after 9/11.

The authors detail wide-ranging and persuasive evidence that American antiterrorism legislation has led to serious infringements of our civil rights. They show us how deviations from our fundamental principles of fairness and justice in times of heightened national anxiety-whether the Red Scare, World War II, or the War on Terrorism-have resulted in overreaction and excess, later requiring apologies and reparations to those victimized by a paranoia-driven justice system.

While terrorist attacks-especially on a large scale and on American soil-damage our national pride and sense of security, the authors offer powerful arguments for why we must allow our judicial infrastructure, imperfect as it is, to respond without undue interference from the politics of anger and vengeance.


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Harmony and the Balance
An Intellectual History of Seventeenth-Century English Economic Thought
Andrea Finkelstein
University of Michigan Press, 2000
Frequently the achievements of pioneering economic writers are assessed by imposing contemporary theories of markets, economics, politics, and history. At last, here is a book that appraises the work of the leading English economic writers of the seventeenth century using intellectual concepts of the time, rather than present-day analytical models, in order to place their economic theories in context. In an analysis that tracks the Stuart century, Andrea Finkelstein traces the progress of such figures as Gerard de Malynes, William Petty, John Locke, and Charles Davenant by inviting us into the great trading companies and halls of parliament where we relive the debates over the coinage, the interest rate, and the nature of money. Furthermore, we see them model their works on the latest developments in physiology, borrow ideas from bookkeeping, and argue over the nature of numbers in an effort to construct a market theory grounded in objective moral value. This comprehensive approach clarifies the relationship between the century's economic ideas and its intellectual thought so that, in the end, readers will be able to judge for themselves whether this really was the age of the Capitalist Geist.
Finkelstein has crafted her book to be both inclusive and interdisciplinary by skillfully integrating biography, political history, economic history, and intellectual theory as well as the economic heritage of its subjects. While the concepts are far from simple, Finkelstein's adroit style presents her analysis in an extremely accessible manner.

Andrea Finkelstein is Assistant Professor of History, City University of New York.

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In the Balance of Power
Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States
Omar H. Ali
Ohio University Press, 2020


Reveals the multiple independent political tactics and strategies that African Americans have used to expand democracy and uphold civil and political rights since the founding of the nation.

This new edition of Ali’s groundbreaking narrative includes an epilogue by independent political analyst and leader Jacqueline Salit. New material addresses the historic presidencies of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as the rising tide of independent and anti-party sentiments.


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In the Balance of Power
Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States
Omar H. Ali
Ohio University Press, 2008

Historically, most black voters in the United States have aligned themselves with one of the two major parties: the Republican Party from the time of the Civil War to the New Deal and, since the New Deal—and especially since the height of the modern civil rights movement—the Democratic Party. However, as In the Balance of Power convincingly demonstrates, African Americans have long been part of independent political movements and have used third parties to advance some of the most important changes in the United States, notably the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, and the enforcement of civil rights.

Since the early nineteenth century, there has been an undercurrent of political independence among African Americans. They helped develop the Liberty Party in the 1840s and have continued to work with third parties to challenge the policies of the two major parties. But despite the legal gains of the modern civil rights movement, elements of Jim Crow remain deeply embedded in our electoral process.

In the Balance of Power presents a history and analysis of African American third-party movements that can help us better understand the growing diversity among black voters today.


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Instream Flow Protection
Seeking A Balance In Western Water Use
David M. Gillilan and Thomas C. Brown
Island Press, 1997

Instream Flow Protection is a comprehensive overview of Western water use and the issues that surround it. The authors explain instream flow and its historical, political, and legal context; describe current instream flow laws and policies; and present methods of protecting instream flow. They provide numerous examples to illustrate their discussions, with case studies of major river systems including the Bitterroot, Clark's Fork, Colorado, Columbia, Mimbres, Mono Lake, Platte, Snake, and Wind.

Policymakers, land and water managers at local, state, and federal levels, attorneys, students and researchers of water issues, and anyone concerned with instream flow protection will find the book enormously valuable.


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Law and the Balance of Power
The Automobile Manufacturers and their Dealers
Stewart Macaulay
Russell Sage Foundation, 1966
Stewart Macaulay teaches contracts at the University of Wisconsin Law School and is interested in the part the legal system plays in implementing, regulating, and hindering economic relationships, and how it does these things. This book is a descriptive analysis of organizational change that has resulted from automobile dealers' attempts to find a legal remedy for what they consider unfair practices of the manufacturers. It advances our understanding of the limitations and the positive functions of formal rules in the regulation of human conduct, and shows how informal procedures can develop as a result of pressure for changes in the formal rules.

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Life Out of Balance
Homeostasis and Adaptation in a Darwinian World
Joel B. Hagen
University of Alabama Press, 2021
Traces historical developments in scientific conceptions of physiology, ecology, behavior, and evolutionary biology during the mid-twentieth century

Life Out of Balance focuses on a period in history when new ideas of self-regulation, adaptation, and fitness became central to a variety of biological disciplines. During the decades surrounding World War II, these ideas developed in several quite different contexts and led to greater debates about the merits of such models as applied to larger systems, including society at large. Particularly in its later cybernetic form, homeostasis seemed to provide new ways of discussing balance and regulation that avoided discredited approaches of earlier champions of vitalism and mechanism. It provided a common perspective and terminology for discussing self-regulating “systems,” whether biological, mechanical, or social. Although enormously fruitful and influential, homeostatic perspectives also generated numerous controversies when critics questioned the degree to which biological systems are characterized by balance and self-regulation. Resolving these controversies continues to be a challenge in modern biology.

If natural selection constitutes the first law of biology, scientists who champion homeostasis as a theoretical model claim that it is a second law, equally important and closely related to the first. Such claims notwithstanding, homeostasis has generated a series of controversies since it was formalized by Walter Cannon in the late 1920s. Critics contended that Cannon took a too-optimistic view of life, not only ignoring pathological deviations from normality but also failing to adequately explain the ability of living things to respond adaptively to environmental challenges.

Underlying these controversies was the unresolved problem of integrating physiology and other areas of functional biology with the emerging evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian natural selection. The physiological idea of homeostasis as the adaptive “fit” between the organism and its environment and the Darwinian idea of adaptation and fitness in terms of reproductive success might seem to be complementary in an unproblematic way, but historically they have had an uneasy relationship.

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Lions in the Balance
Man-Eaters, Manes, and Men with Guns
Craig Packer
University of Chicago Press, 2015
If you are a morani (warrior), you have your spear at the ready—you could be the hero, but you will have to wait until the morning light before you can go out and prove yourself. If it is a lion, you want to be the first to spear it—and if the lion turns on you, make sure it mauls you on your chest or stomach, on your face, shins, or throat. Any place where you can show your scars with pride, show the incontrovertible evidence of courage. A scar on your back would be a permanent reminder of cowardice, an ineradicable trace of shame.
Monsters take many forms: from man-eating lions to the people who hunt them, from armed robbers to that midnight knock at the door of a cheap hotel room in Dar es Salaam. And celebrated biologist Craig Packer has faced them all. Head on.

With Lions in the Balance, Packer takes us back into the complex, tooth-and-claw world of the African lion, offering revealing insights into both the lives of one of the most iconic and dangerous animals on earth and the very real risks of protecting them. A sequel to his prize-winning Into Africa—which gave many readers their first experience of fieldwork in Africa, of cooperative lions on dusty savannas, and political kidnappings on the shores of Lake Tanganyika—this new diary-based chronicle of cutting-edge research and heartbreaking corruption will both alarm and entertain. Packer’s story offers a look into the future of the lion, one in which the politics of conservation will require survival strategies far more creative and powerful than those practiced anywhere in the world today.

Packer is sure to infuriate millionaires, politicians, aid agencies, and conservationists alike as he minces no words about the problems he encounters. But with a narrative stretching from far flung parts of Africa to the corridors of power in Washington, DC, and marked by Packer’s signature humor and incredible candor, Lions in the Balance is a tale of courage against impossible odds, a masterly blend of science, adventure, and storytelling, and an urgent call to action that will captivate a new generation of readers.

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A Question of Balance
How France and the United States Created Cold War Europe
Michael Creswell
Harvard University Press, 2006

Challenging standard interpretations of American dominance and French weakness in postwar Western Europe, Michael Creswell argues that France played a key role in shaping the cold war order. In the decade after the war, the U.S. government's primary objective was to rearm the Federal Republic of Germany within the framework of a European defense force--the European Defense Community. American and French officials differed, however, over the composition of the EDC and the rules governing its organization and use.

Although U.S. pressure played a part, more decisive factors--in both internal French politics and international French concerns--ultimately led France to sanction the plan to rearm West Germany. Creswell sketches the successful French challenge to the United States, tracing the genuine, sometimes heated, debate between the two nations that ultimately resulted in security arrangements preferred by the French but acceptable to the Americans.

Impressively researched and vigorously argued, A Question of Balance advances significantly our understanding of power politics and the rise of the cold war system in Western Europe.


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Restoring the Balance
First Nations Women, Community, and Culture
Eric Guimond
University of Manitoba Press, 2009

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Restoring the Balance
Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850–1995
Ellen S. More
Harvard University Press, 2001

From about 1850, American women physicians won gradual acceptance from male colleagues and the general public, primarily as caregivers to women and children. By 1920, they represented approximately five percent of the profession. But within a decade, their niche in American medicine—women’s medical schools and medical societies, dispensaries for women and children, women’s hospitals, and settlement house clinics—had declined. The steady increase of women entering medical schools also halted, a trend not reversed until the 1960s. Yet, as women’s traditional niche in the profession disappeared, a vanguard of women doctors slowly opened new paths to professional advancement and public health advocacy.

Drawing on rich archival sources and her own extensive interviews with women physicians, Ellen More shows how the Victorian ideal of balance influenced the practice of healing for women doctors in America over the past 150 years. She argues that the history of women practitioners throughout the twentieth century fulfills the expectations constructed within the Victorian culture of professionalism. Restoring the Balance demonstrates that women doctors—collectively and individually—sought to balance the distinctive interests and culture of women against the claims of disinterestedness, scientific objectivity, and specialization of modern medical professionalism. That goal, More writes, reaffirmed by each generation, lies at the heart of her central question: what does it mean to be a woman physician?


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The Road to Independence?
Scotland in the Balance, Revised and Expanded Second Edition
Murray Pittock
Reaktion Books, 2013
Independence has been a contested issue in Scotland since the region was first invaded by England in 1707, and the realm continues to linger between regional status and full sovereignty. The issue of independence has risen to the forefront of Scottish discussion in the past fifty years, and Murray Pittock offers here an examination of modern Scottish nationalism and what it means for the United Kingdom.
Pittock charts Scotland’s economic, cultural, and social histories, focusing on the history and cultural impact of Scottish cities and industries, the role of multiculturalism in contemporary Scottish society, and the upheaval of devolution, including the 2007 election of Scotland’s first nationalist government. From the architecture and art of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the Scottish Parliament, the book investigates every aspect of modern Scottish society to explain the striking rise of Scottish nationalism since 1960. Now brought up to date and with a new foreword by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, The Road to Independence? reveals a new perspective on modern Scottish culture on the eve of Scotland’s referendum on independence from the UK in September 2014.
“Enormously informative and often thought-provoking. . . . This book could hardly be improved on: it’s lively, lucid, witty, beautifully written.”—Scotsman
“A well-arranged exposition of the various pressures and stresses Scottish society has faced and faces still.”—Diplomat

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Sharing the Balance of Power
An Examination of Shared Power in the Michigan House of Representatives, 1993-1994
Daniel Loepp
University of Michigan Press, 1999

Like national politicians, state legislators all too often focus on partisanship instead of policy making, engaging themselves in rancorous debate that achieves little beyond gridlock. However, during one short period in Michigan's history, legislators stopped bickering and focused on forging compromise. Daniel Loepp's Sharing the Balance of Power chronicles the 87th Michigan Legislature (1993-1994), in which Republicans and Democrats successfully shared power.

In 1992, Michigan voters elected exactly fifty-five Republicans and fifty-five Democrats to the state house. As a result, the two parties each elected a co-speaker, and a shared power agreement was forged. Given the history of intense partisanship in the state house, political pundits predicted that any plan for shared power would disintegrate within months. What resulted instead was one of the most productive legislatures in Michigan history.

Author Daniel Loepp, chief of staff to Democratic Co-Speaker Curtis Hertel at the time, skillfully takes the reader "inside" the State Capitol, examining the key policy debates (including school finance reform), important personalities, and difficult negotiations. Loepp's balanced presentation is testimony to the two years of bi-partisan cooperation in which he took part.

In an age of public cynicism about the legislative process, Daniel Loepp offers the reader a refreshing story about two co-speakers and their 108 colleagues who came together in the spirit of bi-partisan representation to successfully serve their constituents, the people of Michigan.

Daniel Loepp is a partner in the firm of Karoub Associates, Michigan's oldest multi-client lobbying firm.


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Striking a Balance
Making National Economic Policy
Albert Rees
University of Chicago Press, 1984
The language of economic policy is as familiar as the daily newspaper—tax cuts, the prime rate, monetarism, deregulation, the balance of payments—but how well do we understand it? Too often, the reasoning and the difficult choices that lead to economic policies are hidden from nonexperts in a fog of statistics and jargon.

Striking a Balance sets forth in clear, nontechnical language the principal goals of national economic policy, the instruments used to achieve these goals, and the political and economic problems arising from conflicting goals and the choice of inappropriate instruments. It is written not for economics students but for the general public and for students in the related fields of public policy, journalism, and law. Unlike economics textbooks, it is not organized according to theoretical categories such as supply and demand, but around issues such as full employment and inflation. It has no ideological axe to grind and tries to present different views of controversial issues fairly.

Striking a Balance benefits from the wisdom and experience of a mature economist. Albert Rees achieves the rare feat of explicating complex issues without oversimplification or trivialization.

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A Time for Every Purpose
Law and the Balance of Life
Todd D. Rakoff
Harvard University Press, 2002

Who organizes our time? Who decides when we must be at work and at school, when we set back our clocks, and when retail stores will close? Todd Rakoff traces the law's effect on our use of time and discovers that the structure of our time is gradually changing. As Rakoff demonstrates, the law's influence is subtle, and so ubiquitous that we barely notice it. But its structure establishes the terms by which society allocates its efforts, coordinates its many players, establishes the rhythms of life, and indeed gives meaning to the time in which we live. Compulsory education law, overtime law, daylight-saving law, and Blue Laws are among the many rules government uses to shape our use of time.

More and more, however, society, and especially the workplace, has come to see time simply as a quantity whose value must be maximized. As lawmakers struggle to deal with accelerating market demands, the average citizen's ability to organize his or her time to accommodate all of life's activities is diminishing. Meanwhile, it is increasingly hard to differentiate weekdays from weekends, and ordinary days from holidays. The law of time, Rakoff argues, may need refashioning to meet modern circumstances, but we continue to need a stable legal structure of time if we are to attain the ancient goal of a balanced life: "A Time for Every Purpose."


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Wholehearted Librarianship
Finding Hope, Inspiration, and Balance
Michael Stephens
American Library Association, 2019

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World in the Balance
Behind the Scenes of World War II
Gerhard L. Weinberg
Brandeis University Press, 1981
The purpose of Weinberg’s text is to suggest a way in which the dramatic events of World War II may be seen. Weinberg argues that the war must be seen as a whole, and that the presentation of it in discrete segments covering the European and Pacific portions separately distorts reality and obscures important aspects of the war on both sides of the world. In addition, any understanding of the great struggle requires a mental self-liberation from the certain knowledge of its outcome. In desperate struggles millions fought and died, hopeful or fearful--or both--but without awareness of the end.

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