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Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform: Volume 27, Number 1, 2020 »

Edited by: William Coleman
Publication date: 2020
Agenda is a refereed, ECONLIT-indexed and RePEc-listed journal of the College of Business and Economics, The Australian National University. Launched in 1994, Agenda provides a forum for debate on public policy, mainly (but not exclusively) in Australia and New Zealand. It deals largely with economic issues but gives space to social and legal policy and also to the moral and philosophical foundations and implications of policy. Subscribe to the Agenda Alerting service if you wish to be advised on forthcoming or new issues.

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Britain’s Second Embassy to China »

Lord Amherst's 'Special Mission' to the Jiaqing Emperor in 1816

Authored by: Caroline Stevenson
Publication date: 2020
Lord Amherst’s diplomatic mission to the Qing Court in 1816 was the second British embassy to China. The first led by Lord Macartney in 1793 had failed to achieve its goals. It was thought that Amherst had better prospects of success, but the intense diplomatic encounter that greeted his arrival ended badly. Amherst never appeared before the Jiaqing emperor and his embassy was expelled from Peking on the day it arrived. Historians have blamed Amherst for this outcome, citing his over-reliance on the advice of his Second Commissioner, Sir George Thomas Staunton, not to kotow before the emperor. Detailed analysis of British sources reveal that Amherst was well informed on the kotow issue and made his own decision for which he took full responsibility. Success was always unlikely because of irreconcilable differences in approach. China’s conduct of foreign relations based on the tributary system required submission to the emperor, thus relegating all foreign emissaries and the rulers they represented to vassal status, whereas British diplomatic practice was centred on negotiation and Westphalian principles of equality between nations. The Amherst embassy’s failure revised British assessments of China and led some observers to believe that force, rather than diplomacy, might be required in future to achieve British goals. The Opium War of 1840 that followed set a precedent for foreign interference in China, resulting in a century of ‘humiliation’. This resonates today in President Xi Jinping’s call for ‘National Rejuvenation’ to restore China’s historic place at the centre of a new Sino-centric global order.

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Made in China Journal: Volume 5, Issue 2, 2020 »

Publication date: October 2020
The most Gothic description of Capital is also the most accurate. Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie-maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us. There is a sense in which it simply is the case that the political elite are our servants; the miserable service they provide for us is to launder our libidos, to obligingly re-present for us our disavowed desires as if they had nothing to do with us. – Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism (2009) Ghostly analogies drawn from the gothic imaginary are common in the Marxist canon, with the most famous case in point being the incipit of Marx and Engels’s Manifesto of the Communist Party, where readers are told that ‘the spectre of communism’ is haunting Europe. Far from being considered curious aberrations, these preternatural metaphors have given rise to a whole literature on spectral capitalism that spans to our present stage of late capitalism. In the 1980s, Aihwa Ong made waves with her study of spirit possessions on the shop floors of modern factories in Malaysia, in which she argued that these spectres represented a form of resistance by workers otherwise powerless in the face of capital. In another instance from the 1990s, Jean and John Comaroff introduced the idea of ‘occult economies’ to make sense of the wave of episodes in which real or imagined magical means were deployed in pursuit of material gains that occurred in South Africa after the end of apartheid. While both conceptualisations received a fair share of criticism—not least for presenting the ghosts of capitalism as dreams and the anthropologist as the psychoanalyst instead of dealing with the proper social and historical context of these phenomena—this issue of the Made in China Journal cuts the Gordian knot by focusing on how individuals in China and other contexts in Asia live and interact with the supernatural. In some cases, ghosts, fortune-tellers, shamans, sorcerers, zombies, corpse brides and aliens merely assist people to get by and cope with the difficulties they face in their daily lives; in others, these beings play subversive roles, undermining the rules that underpin contemporary society. In both cases, they challenge the status quo, hence the title ‘spectral revolutions’.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 12, Number 3, 2020 »

Publication date: September 2020
Japan's choices will be consequential — potentially pivotal — as the world moves through an inflection point in history. The United states and China are locking into strategic rivalry, with both countries dealing poorly with transition to a more multipolar order. How the rest of the world responds will determine global security, prosperity and stability for decades to come. This issue examines how Japan will navigate the policy challenges associated with a post-COVID and post-Abe world. Our contributors offer a variety of perspectives on Japan’s global leadership role, domestic politics, health governance, diplomatic strategy and economic recovery. Our Asian Review pieces examine the domestic drivers of India’s foreign policy and the shaping of politics in China.
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Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Asia Pacific »

Publication date: August 2020
The world’s developed economies are experiencing a sharp backlash against globalisation, and it appears to be contagious. Will Asia catch it next? Asia has seen spectacular growth in recent decades. It has benefited substantially from global trade, finance, openness and the rules-based international order. But much of the growth Asia has enjoyed has not been shared. It has not been inclusive growth. Inequality in Asia is among the highest in the world. The richest man in Vietnam now earns more in a single day than the poorest person does in a decade. Asia has far to go in making its societies more inclusive to women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT community. How can Asia reduce inequality? What are the forces that determine whether growth in the Asia Pacific is inclusive or not? And what can be done to make Asia’s growth more inclusive in the future? This book brings together the region’s leading thinkers to explore how to change Asia’s trajectory, before it is too late. The Pacific Trade and Development (PAFTAD) conference series has been at the forefront of analysing challenges facing the economies of East Asia and the Pacific since its first meeting in Tokyo in January 1968.

Fluid Matter(s) »

Flow and Transformation in the History of the Body

Publication date: August 2020
Once upon a time, doctors across Eurasia imagined human beings in ways that strike us today as profoundly strange and alien. For over 2,000 years, they worried anxiously about fluids to which our modern doctors spare hardly a thought (such as sweat, phlegm and qi) and they obsessed over details (such as whether a person’s pores were open or closed) whose meaning and vital importance have now largely faded from memory. Through a series of case studies from Europe, India, China, Mongolia and Japan, Fluid Matter(s) suggests ways to make sense of this strange and dimly remembered past, and urges us to reflect anew on the significance of fluids and flows in the history of medicine. The book also urges us, more generally, to reimagine the way in which we narrate history. The articles here are essays, in the original French sense. They are exploratory trials, experiments to illustrate some of the ways in which digital texts can go beyond the affordances of print. They test visual effects that are inconceivable on a paper page, but that are easily conjured on an electronic screen. Fluid Matter(s) is the first work of its kind: a study that narrates the body’s past in a form that embodies new futures for narrative.
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Designing Governance Structures for Performance and Accountability »

Developments in Australia and Greater China

Publication date: July 2020
Designing Governance Structures for Performance and Accountability discusses how formal and informal governance structures in Australia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan may be designed to promote performance and to ensure accountability. The book presents a selection of papers developed from the Greater China Australia Dialogue on Public Administration’s seventh workshop held in June 2017 hosted by City University of Hong Kong. Insights are provided on both current developments in the different contexts of the three jurisdictions examined, and on broader institutional and organisational theories. Chapters cover theories of organisational forms and functions in public administration, the ‘core’ agency structures used in the different jurisdictions, the structures used to deliver public services (including non-government organisational arrangements) and other ‘non-core’ agency structures such as government business enterprises, regulatory organisations and ‘integrity’ organisations. A particular emphasis is placed on the institutional arrangements the executive arm of government uses for advising on and implementing government policies and programs. Although the book explores arrangements and developments within very different political governance systems, the purposes of the structures are similar: to promote performance and accountability. This book is a companion volume to Value for Money: Budget and Financial Management Reform in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Australia (ANU Press, 2018).

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 12, Number 2, 2020 »

Publication date: June 2020
How can Asia deal with the triple crises—health, economic and financial—of COVID-19? This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly focuses on Asia's response. This Quarterly features an important strategy paper by over a dozen distinguished experts that details a compact for cooperation among Asian countries for managing the immediate impact of the crises, plan for a speedy exit from the economic damage and protect against similar catastrophes in the future. Our contributors offer a variety of perspectives on Asia’s role in mobilising international cooperation that is needed to deal with the triple crises of COVID-19. Instead of accentuating differences and retreating from openness, the lessons of past crises point to a need to realise the common interest in immunising Asia from a great depression.
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Made in China Journal: Volume 5, Issue 1, 2020 »

Publication date: May 2020
‘Art must not be concentrated in dead shrines called museums. It must be spread everywhere—on the streets, in the trams, factories, workshops, and in the workers’ homes.’ — Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1918 With these words, the great Soviet poet addressed the key question of how to bring art to people and people to art in a new world in which old aristocracies, elites, and their aesthetic privileges were fading away. In the words of art theorist Boris Groys, ‘the world promised by the leaders of the October Revolution was not merely supposed to be a more just one or one that would provide greater economic security, but it was also and in perhaps in even greater measure meant to be beautiful.’ Walking in these steps, the Chinese Revolution was a project of further experimentation and creation in the realm of the relationship between art and the people. The world it created was at once utopian and disfigured, radiant and desolate. While today that world is no longer, the questions it raised about the relationship between the working class, artistic production, and aesthetic appreciation remain with us. This issue of the Made in China Journal offers a collection of essays that examine the ‘work of arts’, intended as the extension of art beyond the confines of the museum and into the spaces of ordinary life and production.

China Dreams »

Edited by: Jane Golley, Linda Jaivin, Ben Hillman, Sharon Strange
Publication date: April 2020
The year 2019 marked a number of significant anniversaries for the People’s Republic of China (PRC), each representing different ‘Chinese dreams’. There was the centennial of the May Fourth Movement — a dream of patriotism and cultural renewal. The PRC celebrated its seventieth anniversary — a dream of revolution and national strength. It was also thirty years since the student-led Protest Movement of 1989 — dreams of democracy and free expression crushed by government dreams of unity and stability. Many of these ‘dreams’ recurred in new guises in 2019. President Xi Jinping tightened his grip on power at home while calling for all citizens to ‘defend China’s honour abroad’. Escalating violence in Hong Kong, the ongoing suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and deteriorating Sino-US relations dominated the headlines. Alongside stories about China’s advances in artificial intelligence and geneticially modified babies and its ambitions in the Antarctic and outer space, these issues fuelled discussion about what Xi’s own ‘China Dream’ of national rejuvenation means for Chinese citizens and the rest of the world. The China Story Yearbook: China Dreams reflects on these issues and more. It surveys the dreams, illusions, aspirations, and nightmares that coexisted (and clashed) in 2019 in China and beyond. As ever, we take a cross-disciplinary perspective that recognises the inextricable links between economy, politics, culture, history, language, and society. The Yearbook, with its accessible analysis of the main events and trends of the year, is an essential tool for understanding China’s growing power and influence around the world.