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A Few Hares: The Life and Economics of Bill Phillips

A Few Hares: The Life and Economics of Bill Phillips

Alan Bollard

The story of an extraordinary New Zealander with a beautiful mind, a famous curve and a revolutionary computing machine.

‘Bill Phillips was an inventor, an adventurer, a hero and a relentlessly original thinker. He was the Indiana Jones of economics and Alan Bollard has written a definitive biography.’ – Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and The Undercover Economist Strikes Back

How did an electrician from New Zealand with a few mediocre grades in sociology write the second most cited economics article in the world, build the MONIAC – a revolutionary computing machine – and quickly rise to become one of the world’s leading economists? From a remote Dannevirke farm to wartime POW camps to London’s intellectual world, the Bill Phillips story is a true New Zealand tale of adventurous spirit and can-do energy.

The Bill Phillips story is in the tradition of great New Zealanders such as Ernest Rutherford and Bert Munro. As many as a dozen Nobel laureates have owed some sort of debt to Bill Phillips and has ground-breaking work.

Bill Phillips combined his knowledge of electrical engineering with an interest in economics to build a world-first hydraulic-driven economics computing machine (the MONIAC). The working MONIAC is now on display at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Alan Bollard met Bill Phillips as a young graduate student and he helped to rebuild the MONIAC.

Alan Bollard is the executive director of the APEC Secretariat in Singapore, former governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and secretary of the Treasury, and author of 25 books and monographs including most recently Crisis: One Central Bank Governor and the Global Financial Collapse (Auckland University Press, 2010). Alan Bollard has written extensively on the New Zealand economy and he has also designed a computer simulation game where you play at being Minister of Finance.

A Few Hares is published by Auckland University Press on 18 April 2016, RRP $39.99. More information is here.


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