Monday, March 5, 2007

Dag, man

The giggles about Gov. Corzine's reference in his state budget address to Dag Hammarskjold as his boyhood hero have subsided, but my insatiable curiosity has not.

Corzine didn't name drop for nothin'. We're left to think while other boys in Willey's Station, Ill., in the 1950s were reading Hardy Boys books, Corzine was devouring every book the then-U.N. secretary general from Sweden had written. How many could Taylorville Library have had?

Hammarskjold is known for his post-war diplomacy that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Just how is that relevant to New Jersey's budget this year, though?

His only marketable authorship today seems to be "Markings," his spiritual musings published posthumously. There's a more obscure collection of his writings and speeches, "The Servant of Peace," by Wilder Foote. Many books were written about him and his work.

But what was Corzine reading in the '50s by Hammarskjold, I wonder? A full bibliography of the books Hammarskjold authored before his death in a suspicious plane crash in 1961 is still eluding me at the moment. Any librarians out there who can help?

Hammarskjold's U.N. biography does say his undergrad majors in Sweden included social philosophy and political economy, and in 1933 he wrote his doctoral dissertation, "The Spread of the Business Cycle." He worked in the Swedish banking industry and held posts in public and private banking simultaneously after being appointed Sweden's Ministry of Finance. He shaped Sweden's post-war financial policy, and negotiated trade and financial matters with other countries before going into foreign service. A political independent, he was a delegate in Paris helping to create the Marshall Plan in 1947.

The Nobel organization tells more about the impact of his work.

"Praise those of your critics for whom nothing is up to standard." -- Dag Hammarskjold

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