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‘If we remove our clothes, we might better also see the way in which we are all equal human beings,’ says feminist economist Victoria Bateman Last March, the Cambridge academic Victoria Bateman walked into the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society in Brighton wearing “nothing but shoes, gloves, a necklace and – of course – a smile”. Smiling is a big thing in naked protest; that, and the idiosyncratic hair, (a deep commitment to the overhead plait) bestows Bateman with an obscure seriousness of purpose. This is otherwise quite difficult to put across when you are not wearing any clothes. Her point, originally, was that economics has failed to put women at the centre of any analysis. In fact, it has largely ignored them, leaving the discipline fatally myopic. This is the subject of her forthcoming book, The Sex Factor, which makes the original but obvious point that classic explanations of prosperity fail: markets are not enough to explain growth; neither are innovation or democracy.. People prosper through freedom outside as well as inside the marketplace – the emancipation of women has a demonstrable, strikingly positive economic effect. Continue reading...