The Green and Gold Revolution: The Story behind the Australian Adaption of Paul Samuelson’s Classic Textbook*


  • I am indebted to the critical input of Keith Hancock and Bob Wallace in the writing of this paper. Thanks are due also to Rodney Bourke, Owen Covick, Geoff Harcourt and Neville Norman. A version of this paper was read at the 24th History of Economic Thought Society of Australia and I wish to thank the participants for their feedback. Finally I must acknowledge the kind assistance of Lyn Eaton archivist at Duke University.

Alex Millmow, School of Business, University of Ballarat, P.O. Box 663, Mt Helen, VIC 3353, Australia. Email:


On a March evening in 1973 the ABC television compere of the Monday Conference programme, Robert Moore introduced his guest, Paul Samuelson, by holding aloft a copy of his economics textbook. Moore joked that Samuelson had taught more people economics than anyone else. He was also, of course, an eminent economist with major contributions in public finance, international economics and the dissemination of Keynesian economics. This paper will discuss how the Australian adaption of Paul Samuelson’s Economics came about. Extensively adapted to fit Australian conditions, the two Australian authors, Keith Hancock and Bob Wallace, both at Flinders University, came up with a publishing success that was to take Australian university economics instruction by storm. They were not, however, Samuelson’s first choice as adaptors. A whole generation of Australian students was brought up on Samuelson. It was also the first attempt at adapting an overseas text to suit Australian institutions and conventions. The paper assesses how well it was received and how it spawned imitators.