Nikias and USC professor Jacob Soll talk financial accountability in high level Athens meetings

USC Professor Jacob Soll’s master work, The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations (Basic Books, 2014), cast a stark light on the financial world as national economies continued to recover from the Great Recession of a few years earlier. Now the book has been translated to Greek, and Soll presented the updated version to scholars at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece.

Soll, the recipient of a MacArthur Fellows award (often called a MacArthur genius grant), was joined by USC President C. L. Max Nikias as well as Greek scholars, government dignitaries and global business executives. The group discussed the book and its continuing importance in a dynamic global economy. Soll also met with the leader of Greece’s New Democracy party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The day after the book presentation, Nikias and Soll met with Alexis Tsipras, prime minister of Greece. Soll presented the Greek translation of his book to Tsipras, and the trio discussed Greece’s debt crisis, progress made in recent negotiations and plans for improving the country’s economic situation.

Soll’s book explores the need for accountability and transparency in ensuring that businesses and nations alike maintain their financial health. The work cites historical figures such as France’s Louis XIV and Rome’s Emperor Augustus discussing their practices, the impact their actions had on history and the lessons they hold for today.

Presentation of Jacob Soll's book at the University of Athens. L-R: University of Athens rector M-A Dimopoulos, Jacob Soll, former Deputy Prime Minister of Greece Evangelos Venizelos, University of Athens department of Economics president Nikolaos Ireiotis, investor and philanthropist Paul Kazarian, Greek General Secretary of Fiscal Policy Franciscos Koutentakis, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Greek Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, and Aristotle Tziampiris, chairman of the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Piraeus. Photo/Courtesy of Dimitris Constandinidis)

Presentation of Jacob Soll’s book at the University of Athens. L-R: University of Athens rector M-A Dimopoulos, Jacob Soll, former Deputy Prime Minister of Greece Evangelos Venizelos, University of Athens department of Economics president Nikolaos Ireiotis, investor and philanthropist Paul Kazarian, Greek General Secretary of Fiscal Policy Franciscos Koutentakis, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Greek Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, and Aristotle Tziampiris, chairman of the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Piraeus. Photo/Courtesy of Dimitris Constandinidis)

This is the second visit to Greece that Soll, a professor of history and accounting, has made to discuss the book and his findings. Late in 2014, he traveled there and to Portugal — two countries where the economies were particularly hard hit by the Great Recession.

Since its publication three years ago, the text has received significant scholarly attention as well as coverage by media outlets such as PBS NewsHour, C-SPAN’s Book TV, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.