Sex-change economist presents a revised figure

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The Independent Online
The Institute of Economic Affairs is guaranteed a full house on Monday 18 March when Professor Deirdre McClosky will deliver her lecture on "Bourgeois Virtue''. Known for her strong feminist views, the John F Murray professor of economics at the University of Iowa (and professor of history, no less) will argue that it is time to "rediscover an art, literature, ethics and economics'' that celebrates the fact that we are townspeople.

I know what you are thinking. The professor of economics at the University of Iowa is not Deirdre McClosky but Donald McClosky, the noted author who just happens to be an authority on feminism and economics. Not any more he isn't. Students returning to the Iowa campus after the Christmas break have been confronted with a profound and fundamental change in their mentor following a visit to a clinic in San Francisco.

Nevertheless, most are agreed that the revised figure (always a popular concept in economic circles) sits more comfortably with the professor's contribution to the role of women in the economy. Academics may recall such seminal works as In Beyond Economic Man and Some Consequences of a Conjective Economics.

Not that such matters will be debated at the IEA. Prof McClosky will tackle the trickier business of Adam Smith's third set of virtues, "the bourgeois virtues of the townsperson''. Book early.

We can exclusively reveal why Tom Vyner, the new chief executive of Sainsbury's supermarkets, cannot be persuaded to stay on beyond 1997. The grocer's number two executive has salt water in his veins and the call of the Mediterranean can be put off no longer.

Mr Vyner has been messing around in boats for the past 30 years. But last year he afforded himself the luxury of an Italian-made Riva motor cruiser called Miss Poppy. Once purchased he sailed it from the yard in Italy (owned by Rolls-Royce) to Majorca, where it has been moored ever since.

"It's my only hobby,'' said Mr Vyner, who started with a rubber dinghy. "But I have had little chance to enjoy it recently.'' The boat sleeps four to six and cruises comfortably at between 18 and 20 knots - ideal for hopping around the Med.

" The good thing about boating is that it taxes your mind,'' claims Mr Vyner, who enjoys cruising with his wife. "If I was sitting on a beach I would only be worrying about the business.''

Nervous ticks reappear at Cazenove. The brokers have learned that the annual figures from their client, Burmah Castrol, will fall on 1 April.

The last time this happened was just after the Gulf War when Jonathan Fry, the Burmah chief executive, insisted on playing an April fools prank. He told a his horrified audience that Burmah had struck a deal with Iraq's Ba'ath party to supply Saddam with petrol. Party time in the Cabinet War Rooms (pictured above) last night, with the number crunchers at the Central Statistical Office celebrating their 55th and final birthday. The CSO - founded in 1941 by Winston Churchill to help manage the economy in the Second World War - is merging with the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys to form The Office for National Statistics. Party gossip inevitably centred on the year 1941. A pint of bitter then cost the equivalent of 4 pence compared with pounds 1.49 today, there were 1.9 million private cars (20 million today) That year also saw the birth of Bob Dylan. Just fancy that.

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