Economy  
comments_image Comments

Famous Harvard Professor Gay-Bashes John Maynard Keynes, Suggests People Without Children Do Not Care About Future Generations

Niall Ferguson may have just committed academic suicide in an act of breathtaking bigotry.
 
 
Share
 
 
 
 

Austerity hawk and Harvard historian Niall Ferguson is known for his love of the media and his enthusiasm for the now-discredited austerity scholarship of fellow Harvard professors Reinhart & Rogoff, who were recently exposed in the homework assignment of a U Mass-Amherst grad student. Not content with this embarrassment, Ferguson has just distinguished himself with a homophobic rant in which he claims that John Maynard Keynes' economic theories are invalid due to his sexuality. He also managed to suggest that anyone who does not have children (this would include, among others, Jesus) does not care about future generations.

Tom Kostigen of Financial Advisor broke the story on Saturday:

"Speaking at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., in front of a group of more than 500 financial advisors and investors, Ferguson responded to a question about Keynes' famous philosophy of self-interest versus the economic philosophy of Edmund Burke, who believed there was a social contract among the living, as well as the dead. Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of 'poetry' rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive.

It gets worse.

Ferguson, who is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, says it's only logical that Keynes would take this selfish worldview because he was an 'effete' member of society. Apparently, in Ferguson's world, if you are gay or childless, you cannot care about future generations nor society."

Since the story hit the Internet, commenters have noted that Keynes was actually bi-sexual, and that his wife suffered a miscarriage. But facts apparently matter less than ad hominem attacks to Professor Ferguson. 

Niall Ferguson apologized on Twitter, calling his remarks "stupid and tactless."

In the past, however, Ferguson has commented on Keynes' sexuality in his scholarly work in a tone that many would consider disparaging, for example, in his book The Pity of War -- see here.

Harvard austerity pushers seem to be doing a remarkable job of humiliating themselves publicly in recent weeks. Who is next?

Lynn Parramore is contributing editor at AlterNet. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.