Harvard professor apologizes for blaming dead gay economist for global financial crisis

Niall Ferguson, author and history professor at Harvard University, recants connecting John Maynard Keynes’ homosexuality to ‘destructive’ economic policies

Harvard professor apologizes for blaming dead gay economist for global financial crisis
04 May 2013

Noted author and Harvard University history professor Niall Ferguson offered an apology for his recent comments about economist John Maynard Keynes.

‘My colleagues, students, and friends – straight and gay – have every right to be disappointed in me, as I am in myself,’ Ferguson wrote today (4 April) on his website. ‘To them, and to everyone who heard my remarks at the conference or has read them since, I deeply and unreservedly apologize.’

Ferguson has been in hot water ever since observations he made at the 10th annual Altegris Conference, an exclusive event for investors and financial advisors. As reported by Street Talk Live reporter Lance Roberts, one of the 500 people in the audience, Ferguson argued Keynes’ economic ideas are to blame for today’s global financial crisis.

The Harvard professor pointed out Keynes was gay, had no plans for raising children, therefore preferred short-term solutions for economic problems.

Keynes, who died in 1946, is one of the most respected economists of the century. He participated in the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, where the underpinnings of modern global economy were created.

According to Financial Advisor magazine, Ferguson also accused Keynes of creating selfish economic policies because he was an ‘effete’ member of society who married a ballerina. Ferguson added the famed economic theorist  probably discussed ‘poetry’ with his wife more often than they had sex.

In his apology, Ferguson noted he did not remember a very important aspect of Keynes home life.

‘But I should not have suggested – in an off-the-cuff response that was not part of my presentation – that Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, nor that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.’

On Twitter, fellow professors gave Ferguson credit for a mea culpa with no reservations.

‘It’s been a while since I’ve seen a real apology — as opposed to an "I’m sorry if people were offended" apology,’  Daniel Drenzer tweeted.

Drenzer is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

‘If you are going to apologise, this is how you should do it,’ wrote Dorothy Bishop, a developmental neuropsychology professor at the University of Oxford.

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