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Harvard Professor Apologizes for Keynes Comments

by Mae Anderson
Saturday May 4, 2013

Niall Ferguson, a Harvard history professor and author, apologized on Saturday for saying economist John Maynard Keynes was less invested in the future because he was gay and had no children.

Ferguson said his remarks at an earlier conference were "as stupid as they were insensitive."

During a question-and-answer session after a prepared speech at the Altegris Strategic Investment conference in Carlsbad, Calif. on Thursday, Ferguson was asked to comment about Keynes, an influential 20thcentury British economist who advocated government spending as a way to make up for lagging demand in a down economy.

Ferguson suggested that Keynes philosophy was shaped by his homosexuality. Keynes, therefore, had no children so he wasn't as invested in future generations as others might be, Ferguson said.

The remarks were reported by the website of Financial Advisor magazine and other online publications.

On Saturday Ferguson acknowledged the remarks and said he "deeply and unreservedly" apologized.

"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," he said in a statement in response to an e-mailed query.

"It is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations," he added.


  • Bob K, 2013-05-04 20:18:30

    THANK GOD THE DAY HAS COME -- when anyone not a politician or reverend in the South is forced by public opinion to retract stupid anti-Gay remarks. This fool would have been shouted down on Monday at Harvard when he tried to lecture to a class.

  • Ciboney, 2013-05-04 23:50:33

    Indeed, Bob. However, both men involved in the story are NOT American, but British.

  • , 2013-05-05 19:37:19

    Why were his comments so scandalous? We discriminate against the young every day. They pay more for college than ever, acquire debt they can’t discharge, are the first to be laid off in a downsizing, and the crushing federal debt is gift wrapped just for them.We hate the young. Why can’t we admit it?

  • Oh Jed said:, 2013-05-06 11:36:33

    My father always said, better to be thought a fool then to speak and remove all doubt.

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