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When John O'Brien suggested to me that I should write an overview of my activities mentioned in the title of this essay, I thought that it would be an easy task. However, it has involved much more research work and thought than I had imagined. I had, for example, no statistical record of the extent and nature of my publications and the variation in these factors with the passing of time. So some rough statistics had to be compiled. Nevertheless, my review is not very statistical nor is it analytical. It is more an impressionistic and personal account which of necessity is selective.
Possibly this review might have been more appropriately written by someone else other than the author. On the other hand, John O'Brien pointed out to me that I would be more familiar with my publications and research than anyone else. Furthermore, I would be the best person to comment on their genesis and my underlying motives. He even suggested that we could be "breaking new ground" in proceeding in this way. So I shall do my best in the time and space available. After providing some statistical data about my publications, I then discuss the genesis of them, particularly my books, and go on to review my research projects and consultancies.
My journey has been full of unexpected but pleasant surprises. It could never have been predicted in advance given the extent to which it has been influenced by chance occurrences. Nevertheless, it has not been entirely random. My path illustrates how diverse and, at least to me, how exciting the study of economics can be. Its study can open up almost infinite opportunities for research and personal contacts.
A statistical overview of my publications
There is always a great deal of controversy about how to best measure academic output, including the extent and nature of one's publications. Much of the argument is futile and sometimes the measure of quality (in terms, for instance, of whether the publication is in a select list of journals) is dangerous, encourages intellectual conformity and can foster intellectual tyranny. From the point of view of advancement of intellectual inquiry, such procedures are anathema. However, with greater scarcity of public funds for academic and cultural pursuits as many governments adopt structural adjustment policies on the advice of international bodies such as The World Bank, competition for available funding for intellectual inquiry has grown. Funds are increasingly distributed according to the priorities of academic oligarchies in many cases desirous of obtaining greater funding from their political masters by emphasizing the "relevance" of their priorities (Huffman and Just, 1994, Industry Commission, 1994, p. 405; Tisdell, 1996) and as a marketing strategy
Furthermore, there are growing pressures to manage academic institutions along the lines imagined to be appropriate to commercial production activities. Thus the freedom and spontaneity of individuals in which the tree of knowledge thrives is greatly endangered. There is a danger of academic institutions diverging radically from the libertarian administrative ideals extolled by John Stuart Mill (1963) and also eloquently explained by the great Tang period prose-writer Liu Zongyuan (AD773-819) in his essay "Camel Gao, the Tree Planter" (Xianyi and Yang, 1984) written more than a thousand years before J.S. Mill.
This essay tells of a hunchback who was a famous gardener of whom all wanted to know his secret. He said he had no special skill but to get the best of each tree, he said he merely respected its nature. "A tree's roots must have room to spread and must be evenly laid; the soil must be old and firmly tamped down. Once a tree is planted you should not move it, but go away without another glance. While planting it, treat it as you would your own child, but then leave it alone. For so it will remain whole and develop to the fall" (Xianyi and Yang, 1984, pp. 149-8). Examples are given of how trees do not respond well to continual interference even when this is well intentioned. This essay continues suggesting that the governing of men might be like the planting of trees. Liu Zongyuan concludes by saying that he has recorded Camel Gao's story as a warning to officials. Many university administrators and modern officials might still benefit by reading Liu Zongyuan's essay or that of John Stuart Mill.
Now let us consider some statistics. Table I and Figure 1 set out the number of pages published by myself or jointly since I first began to publish in 1962. It shows one way or another that I have been involved in something like 16,000 pages of published material, roughly measured. In general, the rate of my publications has been upward and might be roughly approximated by a logistic curve. There is little indication that my rate of publication has begun to decline but it is becoming more difficult for me to sustain the rate as my administrative load increases and pressures for greater commercial management of my department increase. Nevertheless, an eventual decline in my rate of publication is inevitable.
Table I. Pages of publications of Clem Tisdell and joint authors (including edited pages) by five-yearly intervals, 1962-1996 Five-year periods Books Articles Total 1962-1966 0 98 98 1967-1971 206 117 323 1972-1976 993 319 1,312 1977-1981 2,920 192 3,112 1982-1986 1,422 1,101 2,523 1987-1991 2,897 1,555 4,452 1992-1996 2,568 1,930+(a) 4,498+ Total 11,006 5,312+ 16,318+ a Including 200 pages of pending articles
Of course, it is a matter of judgement as to what is cross-disciplinary. Table II gives an indication of my changing relative emphasis on cross-disciplinary work considering the composition of my articles. In general, the extent of my cross-disciplinary writing has expanded with the passage of time. In the last five-year interval, more than half of my published articles were of a cross-disciplinary nature. An increasing proportion of my books are also of a cross-disciplinary character.
The extent to which I have engaged in joint authorship of articles has grown with the passage of time. During the first 15 years of publishing articles virtually none were jointly authored. After that it seems that I became increasingly co-operative in publishing with colleagues and higher degree students (see Table III).
Table II. Pages of publications of articles by Clem Tisdell and joint authors between 1962-1996 classified by whether in economics or cross-disciplinary Cross-disciplinary Five-year Cross- as a percentage intervals Economics disciplinary Total of total 1962-1966 73 25 98 26 1967-1971 117 0 117 0 1972-1976 299 20 319 6 1977-1981 153 39 192 20 1982-1986 675 426 1,101 39 1987-1991 1,076 479 1,555 31 1992-1996 923 1,007(a) 1,930 52 Total 3,316 1,996 5,312 38 a Including 200 pages of pending articles classified as cross-disciplinary Table III. Pages of publications of articles solely authored by Clem Tisdell and jointly authored between 1962-1996 Jointly authored Five-year Solely Jointly as a percentage intervals authored authored Total of total 1962-1966 98 0 98 0 1967-1971 117 0 117 0 1972-1976 305 14 319 4 1977-1981 143 49 192 26 1982-1986 665 436 1,101 40 1987-1991 670 885 1,555 57 1992-1996 316+ 1,614(a) 1,930+ 84 Total 2,314 2,998 5,312+ 56 a Including 200 pages of pending articles treated as joint authored
I have not tried to classify my publications by subject. However, my earliest publications were concerned mainly with microeconomics and decision making under uncertainty. This was the source of my continuing interest in rational behaviour, and led on …