Sexuality came to play a role in a speech made by prominent Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson. According to Boston.com on Saturday, Ferguson found himself apologizing after remarks made in his public speech in which he disputed the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes, sighting that his polices were too short-sighted because he was gay and did not have children.
Keynes policy, known as Keynesianeconomics, gained notability during the Great Depression in which Keynes gave a simple explanation for the cause of the Great Depression. His solution centered around government involvement in increase spending, either through money supply or by actually buying things itself. Needless to say this was not a popular solution during the Great Depression. Ferguson argued in his speech that Keynes’s economic philosophy was flawed and inconsiderate of future generations because of his sexuality and the fact that he didn’t have children.
In his apology, Ferguson mentions that his disagreements “with Keynes’s economic philosophy have never had anything to do with his sexual orientation.”
He said in his apology that he was asked to comment on Keynes’s famous observation “In the long run we are all dead.”
“The point I had made in my presentation was that in the long run our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are alive, and will have to deal with the consequences of our economic actions.”
But the sexual orientation of Keynes didn’t have to become a part of the response or was even necessary in the overall dispute of Ferguson’s disagreement with Keynes’s economic philosophy.
Ferguson, who was the financial advisor for US Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, called his own remarks stupid noting that just because someone doesn’t have children doesn’t mean that they don’t care about future generations. He was disappointed in himself and feels that all of his colleagues, students, and friends have a right to be disappointed in him.