Kenneth Minogue’s “Self-Interested Society”

Kenneth Minogue’s final article, The Self Interested Society, the text of the speech he gave to the Mt Pelerin Society, was published by The New Criterion this month. As everything he ever wrote, it is excellent and penetrating and immense food for thought. Here is the last para: now go and read everything that came before.

It seems to me that our preoccupation with the defects of our civilization is a standing temptation, and a dangerous one, to have recourse to civil authority in order to deal with what we may be persuaded to understand as social imperfections. And that preoccupation with our imperfections is most commonly grounded in the corrupt sense of explaining freedom in terms of self-interest. To recap, such an assumption about the motivation of moderns invokes the moral criterion of justice or fairness as condemning many of the consequences of our economic life (in terms of the supposed distribution of benefits). Such a view in turn generates a succession of vulnerable classes of people each with claims on the state for redress. Welfare programs responding to this process have no determinate end in sight. There is no viable conception of a society without vulnerable classes demanding special treatment as victims of one or other kind of injustice or unfairness. We begin to conceive of modern societies as associations of incompetents and cripples, which is absurd. The human condition is not like that. We entertain many foolish ideas, and no doubt will continue to do so. But this is a piece of nonsense that we can no longer afford.

As if calling a communist a communist will get you votes in New York

Bill de Blasio is the Democrat running for mayor of New York City. Joe Lhota is the Republican. This is from a report on that election:

Mr. Lhota had already criticized Mr. de Balsio yesterday following a New York Times report that described Mr. de Blasio’s past support for revolutionary Nicaraguan politics, as well as his desire for a ‘democratic socialism’ vision for society. . . .

But Mr. Lhota doubled down today in far harsher words–calling on Mr. de Blasio to ‘explain himself’ and equating Mr. de Blasio’s views with communism. . .

‘Mr. de Blasio’s involvement with the Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason. Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why.’

Ah but now Mr de Blasio has replied.

‘I’m very proud to be a progressive.’ . . .

This morning, during an appearance on PIX 11 news, he was asked whether he was a ‘radical, left-wing Democrat.’

‘I’m a progressive and I’m a Democrat, that’s right,’ he responded, describing his philosophy in the tradition of President Franklin Roosevelt. He went on to criticize the ‘wrong . . . failed Reagan-Bush policies’ of the 1980s and said he was ‘very proud’ to have been involved in work opposing them.

Progressive being the new word for communist apparently, why should he hide his views? Mr de Blasio will now win in an even bigger landslide than was originally expected. Such is the world in which we now live.

UPDATE: Shall we or shall we not call Bill de Blasio a socialist? This is the question raised by Stanley Kurtz at National Review Online. His final word:

Conclusion: Too risky. Best not.

The US being a socialist state it is no good trying to say a Democrat is a socialist. Not only does no one care, for his side of politics it’s a feature and not a flaw.

Andrew Bolt on David Suzuki at Instapundit

In its own way, the ABC may have done its own cause more harm than good (and why does the ABC have causes of its own anyway?). I have now seen David Suzuki’s session on Q&A posted at a few international websites but now Andrew Bolt’s post David Suzuki proves he’s pig ignorant about global warming is linked to at Instapundit. This is all that’s written . . .

REVEALED: Climate Change Activist David Suzuki Doesn’t Actually Know Anything About Global Warming Data.

. . . but the story is there underneath for all to read and many many will.

Still, for the know nothings of the environmental movement knowing nothing is not much of a disadvantage amongst its leaders. It may even be a positive advantage.

The trillion dollar question

Right before our eyes we are being lied to by official institutions of the state, by large slabs of the media and by a majority of the scientists of the world publishing in this area. There was a theory: increases in atmospheric carbon would lead to a greenhouse effect which would warm the planet by a few degrees which would in turn lead to a series of climatic changes which would cause immense damage. The one piece of evidence was the correlation between higher concentrations of CO2 and rising temperatures. Now that the correlation has broken during the past 15 years, there ought to be a bit of mea culpa and a major re-evaluation of the science and the associated carbon abatement policies. Well you would think.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, set up by Nigel Lawson, has published this quite interesting series of comments on the problems now being faced by the IPCC and the rest of the scientific community on this incredible gravy train of research grants and fellowships. Accurately titled as The IPCC’s Great Dilemma it highlights how they are going to keep this going for just a bit longer. Mostly just quotes but they are all of a piece with the first of them:

The IPCC’s dilemma is this. How can it expect the public to believe that recent warming is mostly manmade when the models on which it has based this claim have been shown to be fatally flawed?

The question comes down to what Groucho Marx once asked, “Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes.” This is not even the million dollar question, or the billion dollar question but the trillion dollar question. In fact, what comes after trillion because if we continue with this into the future that is the kind of impact this will have on global living standards even over the short time span of the next twenty years.

UPDATE: It’s not Groucho but Chico from Duck Soup:

Mrs. Teasdale: Your Excellency, I thought you’d left!
Chicolini: Oh no, I no leave.
Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
Chicolini: Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Law of Markets – one year today

Today is the first anniversary since I started this blog. I’m not sure I would have kept it up so long and so well except that having tried a number of other names that were already spoken for, when I finally found Law of Markets free that was that. The perfect name, none could possibly be better, for a blog written by me about what I think matters and care about most. This is also the 525th post which means an average of one and a half a day times 200 words each and we have a book of a 100,000 words.

There are no more than a dozen people whom I have ever told about this blog but it does get found while most people I have told about it never come onto the site. The reason I think I get these stray hits is because people pick up various links off some search engine which directs them here so there are a surprisingly large number of hits and some days it is perfectly astonishing. But since I don’t allow comments I have no idea who anyone is or what they make of it. Mostly, though, this is just for me.

But being the 23rd of September it is also the official birthday of our little kitten Saabina who we found in an old Saab we were about to sell. We were getting the car started by the RACV and the chap who came to start the car – who ended up buying the car – noticed this lone kitten on the floor of the passenger’s seat. I worked backwards about three weeks and from that date in the second week of October three weeks before was 23 September. A very auspicious day which I made her official birthday. It is still a puzzle to me why there was only the one kitten in the litter – whether she was abandoned by her mothers or was the first to be moved in or was the last she was going to move out. We’ll never know but she has been the most unusal little kitten and when she was lost last week it was a very very bad four days. But home she is, and a few hundred dollars of vet fees later, she is home again. But she does use up lives at a most unacceptable rate. Where we will all be a year from now on Saabina’s second birthday and Law of Markets second anniversary who can know. But here we are today.

Anyway, hi Joshi! A happy happy moment this is for me.

The German election

The German election is another milestone of governments moving to the right with the re-election of Obama the standout exception. But my interest is the economic policies that led to such a stunning outcome. Where is the textbook that will explain any of this to you?

During the campaign, Merkel said that insisting on reforms in euro countries that received aid was the only way to raise Europe’s competitiveness, citing the fall in German joblessness from a post-World War II high of 12.1 percent in 2005 following a labor-market overhaul. The German unemployment rate is now 6.8 percent compared to 12.1 in the 17-nation euro region. German 10-year bond yields are 1.94 percent, while comparable U.K. gilts yield 2.92 percent and U.S. debt 2.73 percent. . . .

For now, with wages rising and the budget deficit virtually eliminated, voters backed her handling of the domestic economy, and her push for austerity in the euro zone in exchange for aid.

Right now I have arrived at the macro section of my course and am teaching the standard aggregate demand-aggregate supply mantra of the 99%. It just strikes me as utterly incredible that this is still what we make every student of economics learn. Evidence based policy is not much in evidence it seems to me.

Origins of the term “entrepreneur” in English

The Origins and Evolution of the Term “Entrepreneur” in English

If I might summarise what I learned about the origins of the word “entrepreneur” in English. This is the query I posted at the SHOE website on 19 September 2013:

I have been asked about the origins of the word ‘entrepreneur’ which is generally associated with J.-B. Say but had already been used by Cantillon in 1723. The English equivalent based on the French entreprendre is ‘undertaker’, i.e. the person who undertakes some project and this word ‘undertaker’ shows up in The Wealth of Nations on a number of occasions in exactly that sense. But I am interested in the word ‘entrepreneur’ itself. Could someone guide me towards the first uses of the term ‘entrepreneur’ in English and who in the English speaking tradition had originally used ‘entrepreneur’ as a separate factor of production which I assume is what made Say’s use of this concept so noteworthy.

Many thanks for any assistance.

The word is, of course, French in origin and has a history going back beyond its use by Cantillion in an article posthumously published in 1734 but which some believe to have been written in 1723. Irrespective of its use by Cantillon, its use by Jean-Baptiste Say in 1803 in his Traité is the landmark moment when the word and its associated concept cross into use amongst economics in French. But the concept itself is older and is unmistakably found in Adam Smith in which he uses the term “undertaker” which is almost a direct translation of entrepreneur. The interesting sidelight here, however, is found in the various translations of Say’s Treatise and Letters to Mr. Malthus in which he writes entrepreneur in the original French but which are variously translated. Jonsson (2013: ) discusses this issue, quoting Princep, Say’s American translator:

‘The term entrepreneur is difficult to render in English; the corresponding word, undertaker, being already appropriated to a limited sense. It signifies the master-manufacturer in manufacture, the farmer in agriculture, and the merchant in commerce; and generally in all three branches, the person who takes upon himself the immediate responsibility, risk, and conduct of a concern of industry, whether upon his own or a borrowed capital. For want of a better word, it will be rendered into English by the term adventurer.’ (Jonsson 2013: 9-10)

There is also the reverse translation of Adam Smith into French where the term “undertaker” is rendered as entrepreneur. This occurs as early as the first translation which is made in 1778 about which Jonsson writes, “we should reiterate that in the earlier translation of Smith’s (1778-9) Wealth of Nations into French, Smith’s ‘undertaker’ became entrepreneur” (Jonsson 2013: 10). Of the word “entrepreneur” being used in an English text, Richard van den Berg noted this probable first use in 1811 by Daniel Boileau. in An Introduction to the Study of Political Economy:

The proper employment or application of capital requires diligence, ability, and a certain degree of courage or resolution, the want of which qualities, or any of them in themselves, frequently induces owners of capital stock to entrust its use to others. In that case the owner of stock is more particularly called a capitalist, and the individual who employs the capital is denominated an undertaker (entrepreneur). The profit of stock must in such instances be divided in certain proportions between the capitalist and the undertaker. (Boileau 1811: 79-80)

Van Den Berg also notes the “pretty nice distinction between ‘capitalist’ and ‘entrepreneur’” found in Boileau which is indeed an important distinction. The possible first use of the term entrepreneur in an English text on its own, as noted by Nicholas Theocarakis and José Manuel Menudo, appears in John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy. There the term is found, still in French, in a footnote to this passage from Volume 1 Book ii Chapter xv in the first 1848 edition. Mill laments that the French have a superior word while those writing in English are compelled to use the less accurate “undertaker”:

The gross profits from capital, the gains returned to those who supply the funds for production, must suffice for these three purposes. They must afford a sufficient equivalent for abstinence, indemnity for risk, and remuneration for the labour and skill required for superintendence. These different compensations may be either paid to the same, or to different persons. The capital, or some part of it, may be borrowed: may belong to some one who does not undertake the risks or the trouble of business. In that case, the lender, or owner, is the person who practises the abstinence; and is remunerated for it by the interest paid to him, while the difference between the interest and the gross profits remunerates the exertions and risks of the undertaker.[*] Sometimes, again, the capital, or a part of it, is supplied by what is called a sleeping partner; who shares the risks of the employment, but not the trouble, and who, in consideration of those risks, receives not a mere interest, but a stipulated share of the gross profits. Sometimes the capital is supplied and the risk incurred by one person, and the business carried on exclusively in his name, while the trouble of management is made over to another, who is engaged for that purpose at a fixed salary. Management, however, by hired servants, who have no interest in the result but that of preserving their salaries, is proverbially inefficient, unless they act under the inspecting eye, if not the controlling hand, of the person chiefly interested: and prudence almost always recommends giving to a manager not thus controlled, a remuneration partly dependent on the profits; which virtually reduces the case to that of a sleeping partner. Or finally, the same person may own the capital, and conduct the business; adding, if he will and can, to the management of his own capital, that of as much more as the owners may be willing to trust him with. But under any or all of these arrangements, the same three things require their remuneration, and must obtain it from the gross profit: abstinence, risk, exertion. And the three parts into which profit may be considered as resolving itself, may be described respectively as interest, insurance, and wages of superintendence.

[*] It is to be regretted that this word, in this sense, is not familiar to an English ear. French political economists enjoy a great advantage in being able to speak currently of les profits de l’entrepreneur.

Theocarakis also brings to our attention to what is almost certainly the first formal use of the term “entrepreneur” as part of an economics text written in English. Francis Amasa Walker in The Wages Question: A Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class, and first published in 1876 titles, Part II, Chapter XIV, “The employing class: The entrepreneur function: The profits of business” (my bolding). And if one goes to the econlib copy of the book, under the search term “entrepreneur” there are 24 separate references to the use of this term. Walker’s first use of the term “entrepreneur” is exemplary and interestingly highlights a matter that remains almost universal to this day:

We have now to note a further source of error in the almost universal neglect by the text-book writers to make account of an industrial function which, while, the world over and history through, it characterizes a class no more than labor or capital, does yet, in the most highly organized forms of industry, especially in these modern times, characterize a distinct and a most important class. This class comprises the modern employers of labor, men of business, ‘captains of industry.’ It is much to be regretted that we have not a single English word which exactly fits the person who performs this office in modern industry. The word ‘undertaker,’ the man who undertakes, at one time had very much this extent; but it has long since been so exclusively devoted to funereal uses as to become an impossible term in political economy. The word ‘adventurer,’ the man who makes ventures, also had this sense; but in modern parlance it has acquired a wholly sinister meaning. The French word ‘entrepreneur’ has very nearly the desired significance; and it may be that the exigencies of politico-economical reasoning will yet lead to its being naturalized among us. [Walker 1888: Part II, Chapter 14, 90-91 – my bolding]

And “naturalised” it has indeed become. Given Walker’s central role in the American economics community of the nineteenth century, that he states that he hopes to see the use of the term proliferate and the fact that the word did indeed spread throughout the profession thereafter, makes it almost certain that the domestication of the term “entrepreneur” belongs to Walker, although it is entirely possible that he took the idea from that footnote in Mill. I also think this comment on the antagonism between the owners of capital and the actual users of this capital, the entrepreneurs, is worth noting since this is an important distinction:

In the highly-complicated organization of modern between the capitalist and the laborer, makes his terms with each, and directs the courses and methods of industry with almost unquestioned authority. To laborer and to capitalist alike he guarantees a reward at fixed rates, taking for himself whatever his skill, enterprise, and good fortune shall secure. How completely the laborer accepts this situation of affairs we see in the fewness of the attempts to establish productive co-operation, as shown in the preceding chapter. But the laborer does not accept the situation more utterly, more passively, than does the capitalist. Quite as closely does the man of wealth who has not been trained to business, respect his own limitations; quite as little is he disposed to venture for himself.industry, the employer, the entrepreneur, stands. [Walker 1888: Part II, Chapter 16]

Theocarakis establishes Walker’s influence even if it is unrecognised in this reference in the OED in which Richard T. Ely is cited for the use of the term in 1889. Given that Walker preceded Ely by 13 years in referring to the entrepreneur, and Ely would undoubtedly have read Walker, and indeed, Ely even makes the same observation as Walker (and Mill), I think the OED will need to amend its own record to install Walker as the first to employ the term in English in exactly the sense it is used today. This is how Theocarakis refers to the role of Ely:

The OED also offers the following: ‘1889 R. T. Ely Introd. Polit. Econ. (1891) 170 We have..been obliged to resort to the French language for a word to designate the person who organizes and directs the productive factors, and we call such a one an entrepreneur.’ [Actually it is the same page (170) in the 1889 New York, Chatauqua Press, edition].

If Walker in 1876 is then followed by Ely in 1889, and both have the same regret that is described by Mill, it appears almost certain that the laurel goes to Walker although Mill would have to be seen as a likely influence. The use by Ely would have, of course, established the term as part of economic discourse. And yet even then the term entrepreneur may not have truly entered into the lexicon of economics. The actual moment that entrepreneur may have become part of the common language of economics may not have occurred until its use by Schumpeter in his The Theory of Economic Development which was originally published in German in 1911 but only translated into English in 1934. There he associates the entrepreneur not only with the management of a business but also intrinsically as an innovator and introduces the phrase “creative destruction” as the process through which entrepreneurially-led innovation occurs. It is Schumpeter’s particular use that still pervades much of the literature on entrepreneurship although not all uses of the term include this additional connotation. Israel Kirzner, for example, who has written extensively on the role of the entrepreneur, uses the term to describe the manager of an enterprise in the sense it was meant by Mill and Walker.

Finally, it has been noted initially by Mason Gaffney that being innovative does not necessarily make one a benefactor to society. This has been well brought out by Petur Jonsson in his especially interesting article where he wrote following Baumol:

Innovative entrepreneurship is not about creating new products and services per se. Innovative entrepreneurship consists of ‘finding creative ways’ to achieve one’s objectives whatever they may be (Baumol, 2010, p. 155). As explained earlier by Baumol (1990), sometimes this calls for unproductive or even destructive actions. Sometimes people find creative ways to increase their status, wealth, or power without producing anything of value for others. Innovative entrepreneurs will create tradable new goods and services if, and only if, they have an incentive to channel their creative efforts in such pursuits. In truth, even today, some of the most creative and innovative efforts we see anywhere are devoted to criminal enterprises. For example, as outlined by Jonsson (2009), much of internet crime is run by exceptionally creative people who consistently remain a step ahead of regulators, law enforcement and various internet security set ups. (Jonsson 2013: 3)

Nevertheless, I am absolutely with those who think of the entrepreneur as the no questions asked essential ingredient at the heart of the market process. There are no doubt forms of self-interested behaviour that are harmful to the social order and require planning and initiative – as is likely the case with most forms of criminality. But in thinking about how economies are made stronger and more productive, there is no other means to this end other than through entrepreneurially-driven market activity within a legal environment put in place and managed by government.

So to sum up. The word originates in French and has a long history going back before both Say and Cantillon. Nevertheless Say and Cantillon are the two most likely to have made it a standard in French economic discourse. There is a brief reference in English to the term in Daniel Boileau in 1811 and by John Stuart Mill in 1848. But the actual domestication of the term was by F.A. Walker in The Wages Question: A Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class, published in 1876. He uses the term extensively in the text, notes how English is in need of a word with the connotations we now associate with it and was himself an author who would have been able to influence the profession. The OED thus wrongly gives the attribution to Richard Ely who nevertheless was an important conduit of the term to the economics community in general after he had sourced the term in Walker.


Boileau. Daniel. [1811] 2011. An Introduction to the Study of Political Economy. Nabu Press.

Hoselitz, Bert. “The Early History of Entrepreneurial Theory” published in Explorations in Entrepreneurial History, Vol. 3

Jonsson, Petur. 2013. “On Entrepreneur in Pre-Classical and Classical Economic Thought.” Unpublished manuscript.

Kirzner, Israel. 1973 [2013]. Competition and Entrepreneurship. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.

Schumpeter,Joseph A. 1934. The Theory of Economic Development. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press. The English translation of Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1911. Theorie derwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung. Leipzig: Duncker& Humblot

Walker, Francis Amasa. 1888. The Wages Question: A Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class. 2nd ed.

The 2016 American presidential election has already begun

rand paul and wife sept 2013

It will in many ways be too late but the one person who might be both electable and may make a difference for the good is Rand Paul who is without any doubt working his way towards the nomination. As part of the getting to know you process there is this article on Rand Paul in Vogue which is about as good as it gets for the American media about a Republican and conservative. But it’s early days yet. The article is fascinating from end to end but it is this comment by his wife Kelley I found particularly striking.

She sinks down next to Paul on the couch, folding her legs under a tasseled pillow, and explains that, in fact, she is not sold on a Rand Paul 2016 presidential campaign. ‘Because in this day and age it’s mostly about character assassination,’ she says. ‘When I think of the tens of millions of dollars in opposition research that they’d be aiming right at us and our family—that’s what it’s about.’

Becoming president is an endurance test that may not test the right kinds of qualities for someone who actually becomes the president. Winning elections and governing are not at all the same especially in trying to cope with the American media.

But a man is also known by his enemies and Rand Paul has just the right ones, including the Governor of New Jersey, the certain media favourite on the Republican side come 2016, or at least he will be up until he is actually nominated. Rand may dislike Christie almost as much as I do:

In fact, our interview coincides with a scrap between him and Governor Christie over their opposite philosophies on national security. Paul gleefully notes to me that his latest Christie-baiting tweet is ‘really going to escalate the war’ between the two Republicans.

People will be in no doubt who they are voting for by the time the primaries are done. Christie I would never support. There is no doubt that his helping Obama in the last week of the campaign was an all out attempt to keep Romney from the White House so that he could run himself in 2016. Roger Kimball on Christie, who has titled his article “Bully, Blowhard” doesn’t think it made the final difference but so what. It’s that he tried that counts and there is no way to say one way or another that we do not have four more years of Obama because of what Christie did to make Obama look presidential. But even if we don’t agree on the role Christie played in Romney’s defeat, Roger’s article is dead on about what a useless incompetent Christie actually is.

The Ministry of Truth and the new media

This is from the Wikipedia post on The Ministry of Truth. In Orwell’s 1984 workers within the Ministry are actual government employees and oddly that’s the bit Orwell got wrong. Yet had he actually predicted what really has happened it would have been seen that step too far, farfetched beyond endurance. Nevertheless, there they are, the journalists of the world, free conscripts to our various media organisations, some even run under free enterprise principles, who will lie, deny and distort, do whatever it takes, to shield their leftist cult leaders from all criticism. But aside from that failure to predict to the very last measure of accuracy, everything else has taken place as Orwell predicted almost to the letter. In place of Newspeak the language is now the language of PC, the politically correct. Speak outside of its confines, you will be spotted the moment you say a word.

The Ministry of Truth is Oceania’s propaganda ministry. It is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events. The word truth in the title Ministry of Truth should warn, by definition, that the ‘minister’ will self-serve its own ‘truth’; the title implies the willful fooling of posterity using ‘historical’ archives to show ‘in fact’ what ‘really’ happened. As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, truth is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. . . .

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the ‘how’ of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.

I am not the first to notice this, of course, but it is always astonishing to come back to it again and see once more just how accurate Orwell was. Apply the above to each of the following – Bengahzi, Syria, the IRS, Obamacare – and you will immediately see how uncanny this statement is given Orwell published 1984 in 1948 and not just last year.

Hostage to fortune

Why be hostage to fortune? Take my word for it, if it just so happened that the best possible Ministers in the new government all happened to come from New South Wales it still would not be right to choose an inner Cabinet of only those who had been elected from New South Wales. Symbolism in politics counts but sometimes it is even more than just symbolic. A proper balance of interests and perspectives is what makes a good government an even better government.

This article by the always interesting and sensible Julie Burchill puts a different perspective on how women perceive the world differently from men. It’s titled, “Execution is the way forward for women-murdering scum like Delhi rapists“. This passage particularly caught my attention:

When I think of the lives of women in the 21st Century, I think of a horrible parody of Shakespeare’s Seven Ages Of Man. First she is an aborted female foetus, then a cyber-bullied schoolgirl, then a groomed, raped and trafficked victim of some low-life gang, then a judged predatory Lolita responsible for her own molestation by some dirty old man. And that’s just before she’s old enough to vote.

In young adult life, at the height of her beauty, she will be groped, grabbed and molested in the street as she goes about her daily business.

Seeking refuge from this, she may put herself under the protection of one man through marriage or co-habitation – only to find that one in four British women, for example, will be victims of domestic violence, and that two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners. (Someone needs to tell a LOT of men that “Till death us do part” doesn’t mean “Till I want you dead”.)

When she loses her beauty, she will become a despised battle-axe butt of a million mother-in-law jokes – and disappear from the television and cinema screens, while her male contemporaries grow more visible and earn more with every decade of decay.

Finally, she will be an unwanted old woman dying for a drink of water on an NHS hospital ward. Rest in peace, indeed.