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John Tang

John Tang is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne. John’s research interests are in the economic history of Japan, growth and development, international trade, and other applied microeconomic topics. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Economic History and rock climbs in his leisure.

John Tang reviews 'The Currency of Politics' by Stefan Eich

March 2023, no. 451 25 February 2023
What is money? To most, it is currency in the physical form of bills and coins. To others, it encompasses any form of financial credit that mediates present versus future consumption. To the author Stefan Eich, it is an institution that was historically conceived to promote social justice and democracy, but over time has been neutered of its political nature as a public good. Over six chapters bo ... (read more)

John Tang reviews 'Shutdown: How Covid shook the world’s economy' by Adam Tooze

November 2021, no. 437 25 October 2021
How will the year 2020 be remembered? No doubt the headline event was the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered schools, factories, and hospitality services, leading to a contraction of per capita income for ninety-five percent of the world’s economies. For Europe, the acrimonious exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union would serve as a stark reminder of how fragile supranational inst ... (read more)

John Tang reviews 'The Gypsy Economist: The life and times of Colin Clark' by Alex Millmow

September 2021, no. 435 28 July 2021
Thirty-two years since his death, Colin Clark (1905–89) remains an obscure name in Australia and the discipline of economics. This relative anonymity may strike those who know of his academic achievements as odd, even unjust, as Clark was an outspoken and occasionally brilliant intellectual. A protégé (and later apostate) of John Maynard Keynes, a British Labour party candidate for South Norfo ... (read more)

John Tang reviews 'The Price of Peace: Money, democracy and the life of John Maynard Keynes' by Zachary D. Carter

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
Who was John Maynard Keynes? Was he the bookish Cambridge don who penned ambitious theories to overturn the tenets of economics and political liberalism? Or was he Baron Keynes of Tilton, the ardent imperialist who viewed British rule as a benevolent force bringing justice, liberty, and prosperity to the societies it administered? Was he a meticulous Lothario who kept lists of his hookups with ano ... (read more)

John Tang reviews 'What’s Wrong with Economics? A primer for the perplexed' by Robert Skidelsky

August 2020, no. 423 27 July 2020
It is a truth universally acknowledged that pride comes before a fall, and ‘Anyone with a historical sense would have realised that the hubristic attempt to make the world into a frontier and culture-free single market would end in tears.’ This opening salvo in Professor Robert Skidelsky’s new book is part of his answer to what is wrong with economics. Besides arrogance, this includes amoral ... (read more)