Deirdre McCloskey

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey taught until 2015 economics, history, English, and communication, adjunct in philosophy and classics, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of seventeen books and some 400 scholarly articles ranging from technical economics and statistics to gender studies and literary criticism, she has taught in England, Australia, Holland, Italy, and Sweden, and holds ten honorary degrees. Her trilogy of books (2006, 2010, 2016) on the “bourgeois era”; explains modern riches not from trade or exploitation or science, but as an outcome of a new respect after 1700 for trade-tested betterment, Adam Smith’s “liberal plan of [social] equality, [economic] liberty, and [legal] justice.”

McCloskey is often classed with “conservative” economists, Chicago-School style (she taught in the Economics Department there from 1968 to 1980, tenured in 1975, and during her last year also in History). She still admires supply and demand. But she protests: “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative.’ I’m a Christian libertarian, or a humane liberal.”