Friday 17 Aug 2018 | 02:21 | SYDNEY
Friday 17 Aug 2018 | 02:21 | SYDNEY

My books of the year

15 December 2010 09:50

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo.

Useful reading during the year for me has covered global, regional, and country topics.

We all worry about climate change. Reliable facts are sometimes hard to come by. The book by David MacKay, 'Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air', is an invaluable guide to many of the key basic facts about how our energy options relate to climate change. 

MacKay, a professor in the Department of Physics at Cambridge, sets out to carefully consider the physics of energy use and the options for low-carbon pathways. The book can be downloaded here, although it is so useful that it is surely best to buy a hard copy and mark key passages carefully.

Good reading for regional issues is 'The New Economic Diplomacy: Decision-Making and Negotiation in International Economic Relations', by Nicholas Bayne and Stephen Woolcock. The book says very little about Asia but it provides a strong background for considering how the institutional framework for economic diplomacy in Asia is likely to evolve over the next decade.

But all politics is local. The publication of the Indonesian-language book by Professor Widjojo Nitisastro, 'Pengalaman Pembangunan Indonesia: Kumpulan Tulisan dan Uraian Widjojo Nitisastro' ('Indonesian Development Experiences: A Collection of Writings and Notes of Widjojo Nitisastro'), is one of the key public policy events of the year in Southeast Asia. Widjojo, as he is universally known, was one of the central economic policy-makers in the region in the last quarter of the 20th century. This collection records his experiences. 

The Australia Indonesia Institute would do well to set aside some funds to support the translation of key Indonesian books into English. We surely need to know what important figures in our giant neighbour are thinking.