Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress.  Reading, of course, is key in all of these.  With this in mind, we asked some faculty members at St. John’s about books that have influenced them personally or professionally.  

Dr. Igor Tomic — an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, Director of the Financial Services Institute, and editor of the Review of Business published by the Peter J. Tobin College of Business — writes:

A book that had an influence on me was The Economic Consequences of the Peace, by John Maynard Keynes, published by McMillan in London in 1919.  How often does a young person using simple addition and subtraction point to a colossal mistake that predictably led a developed nation into troublesome times, with overwhelmingly ravaging consequences to itself and the world?

Mr. Keynes (and later Lord Keynes) as a young men working for the British Treasury (and as a deputy for the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was temporarily assigned to the Paris Peace Conference.  He resigned on June 7, 1919 as he realized that the compensation imposed on countries defeated in the World War I was of such size that it would devastate their economy and likely lead to social turmoil; not something that would assure peace in a continent where the war just ended.

How prophetic was his observation when 14 years later Adolf Hitler came to power as a direct result of the miserable economic conditions affecting Germany! In the recent reprint of this book (Skyhorse Publications, Inc.New York, 2007) Robert B. Reich further illuminated the value of Keynes’ book: “But its real import was to be felt decades later, after the end of World War II. Instead of repeating the mistakes made almost three decades before, the US and Britain bore in mind Keynes’ earlier admonition. The surest pathway to a lasting peace was to help the vanquished rebuild.”