Date: February 8, 2012
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Location: World Room, Journalism, Room 305, Columbia University, campus entrance at Broadway and 116th st, New York, NY 10027
Lecture by Jacob Soll, moderated by Caroline Weber
Today, we often talk about good politics in terms of balanced budgets. Politicians like to associate themselves with surpluses and their opponents with deficits. The first time politicians used numbers and accounting calculations in political debate was in France in the 1780s. Rather than simple numbers, the French Director of Finances Jacques Necker produced what he claimed were accurate state accounts. A battle of financial numbers ensued between government ministers and critics of the crown. Numbers became a part of political theater and of modern political language--and continue to play a dominant role in political debate today.
Jacob Soll received his DEA from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and his PhD from Magdalene College, Cambridge. The author of books on Machiavelli and the French Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, he is Professor of History at Rutgers University.
Caroline Weber is Associate Professor of French at Barnard College. She specializes in 18th century French literature and cultural history.
Event co-sponsored by the Program for Economic Research and Department of History
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