dubious theories

Niall Ferguson Doesn’t Trust Gay Economists [Updated]

Niall Ferguson poses outside the Waldor Astoria on November 4, 2011 in New York City.
Niall Ferguson. Photo: Matt Carr/Getty

Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has an interesting new critique of Keynesian economics (which calls for government stimulus spending and larger deficits when the economy is weak.) At a Thursday conference in California, Ferguson — an austerity advocate — told a crowd of 500 financial advisers and investors that John Maynard Keynes’s ideas should be dismissed because he was gay and childless, and therefore did not worry about about his philosophy’s effect on future generations. 

According to a report from financial writer Tom Kostigen, Ferguson explained that the “effete” Keynes preferred talking about “poetry” to having sex with his ballerina wife, and went on to suggest that people without children have no reason or ability to care about what happens to the world after they die. Hopefully, this will attract as much criticism as his Newsweek take-down of President Obama’s first term, though it should be much easier to pick apart.

Update: Ferguson has apologized for his “stupid, “insensitive,” and “off-the-cuff” remarks. However, Cambridge’s Michael Kitson claims that Ferguson made similar comments during a seminar twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Ferguson nemesis Paul Krugman has taken the debacle as an opportunity to suggest that Ferguson has “forfeited any right to be taken seriously” because his offensive argument was based on a misinterpretation of Keynes’s assertion that, “In the long run we are all dead.”

Niall Ferguson Doesn’t Trust Gay Economists