Paragon House Publishes Professor’s First Book

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

Macon – Dr. Harold Jones, assistant professor of management in Mercer University’s Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, has just released his first book, “Personal Character and National Destiny,” published by Paragon House of St. Paul, Minnesota.

In “Personal Character and National Destiny” Jones shows that economic progress depends upon personal morality. Commenting on the book, Dr. D. James Kennedy of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church writes, “This is straight talk about the essentiality of Christianity in the motivation of achievement in America’s history and in its future.” Jones’ message, he says, is one that “demands our attention.”

Griffin Bell, who served as U. S. Attorney General during the Carter administration, is equally enthusiastic. “Professor Jones has made a powerful case for saving the values of an America built on self-reliance and self-achievement from the ever-present danger of the elitists, who abound in the Congress, in academia and in the non-profit think tanks,” he said. “These elitists would govern us with sumptuary laws and processes, which will gradually devour the seed corn of our country. We must be on guard to maintain a value system based on the individual right to achieve and to be left alone.”

Jones said his ideas for the book began with Economics 101 – a course he describes as his “first class in moral theology.” He said that everything he learned from his seminary classes on ethics and from his experience as an Army chaplain, a pastor and financial planner squared with what he had learned as a sophomore at the University of Omaha.

“For everything that is given, something is required,” Jones said. “There is no such thing as a free lunch. Each of us has a right to what he or she has earned but no right at all to what others have earned. These are the first principles of both economics and morality.”

When Jones left the full-time ministry to go into financial planning he began to systematically study the relationship between personal religious convictions and practical success. He soon came to the conclusion that the economic fate of both individuals and societies is the direct result of the values they hold.

When he returned to school for his Ph.D. in 1992, he hoped he could use his doctoral studies to examine the historical and psychological evidence for the truth or falsehood of this conviction. His dissertation chairman, though, wanted him to do something more conventional.

“Arguing with your dissertation chairman is less effective even than arguing with the IRS,” Jones said, “so I did as I was told. I submitted my dissertation on March 28, 1997, and on March 29, I began the preliminary work for ‘Personal Character and National Destiny.’ This is the dissertation I really wanted to write.”

Available at book retailers nationwide, “Personal Character and National Destiny” is available for review by calling Rosemary Byrne Yokoi with Paragon House at (651) 644-3087. To schedule an interview with Jones, call (478) 301-5440.

Founded in 1833 in Penfield, Ga., Mercer is the only independent university of its size in the country to offer programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, pharmacy, law, theology and nursing. Mercer has been ranked among the leading colleges and universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report for 12 consecutive years.

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