Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Was Ferguson right about Keynes?

In an off-the-cuff  comment on the famous saying by Keynes:  "In the long run we are all dead", Ferguson was reported as saying:  "Keynes was a homosexual and had no intention of having children. We are not dead in the long run … our children are our progeny. It is the economic ideals of Keynes that have gotten us into the problems of today"

That produced the usual outcry from the homophilic crowd and Ferguson predictably apologized.

Jerry Bowyer argues in the excerpt below that Ferguson was right in principle and I agree with him.  I think children make a huge difference to your world-view.

But was Ferguson right about Keynes?  I think not.  Keynes was bisexual and did eventually marry a woman. He even wrote in the 1930s a tract titled:  "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren".  So Keynes WAS clearly concerned about even the distant future

And people who criticize Keynesian theory rarely seem to have actually read "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money".  What Keynes sets out there is very different from what politicians do today in his name.  Politicians have grabbed the one bit that suits them -- money printing -- and ignored the rest

If you pay attention to economic debates you know by now that a celebrity historian named Niall Ferguson made some off-hand comments at a financial conference in which he linked John Maynard Keynes’ homosexuality to some flaws in his economics. The story was picked up by Financial Advisor Magazine in an article which took a strong stance against Ferguson’s remarks. The story was picked up by the mainstream press, ran like wildfire burning with angry denunciations, and Ferguson predictably confessed and recanted.

The signals have been sent: the Keynes/homosexuality/theoretical distortion theory is not only wrong, it is blasphemy, punishable by instant anathematization and career immolation, at least as far as academic and corporate life are concerned.

But only among the chattering classes would it appear to be perfectly clear that having children has no effect whatsoever on one’s long-term view. Speaking for myself, I really grew up at age 23 when I first became a father. We’ve had long discussions in the library, on the porch and on the patio with other couples who all say the same thing: having children changes everything, and it starts with your view of the future. Of course people can become connected to the future by other means, and unmarried or childless people are not predestined to inevitable generational solipsism, but it’s just plain ideological blindness to think that this comes as easily or as often without family formation and children.



Use the Name, Luke said...

Also from the source article:

Keynes was a man who exhibited what most of us would see as an almost pathological preference for exclusively male intellectual and sexual companionship specifically because of the great admiration for the male mind and disdain for the female one, who disapproved of the presence of women in his economics classes, who found women’s thinking patterns repugnant and who associated savings with feminine reticence. Is it really such an unforgiveable sin to take these facts and to surmise that his odd sexual views might be related to his odd economic views? Is it really right that anyone who suggests that they are connected should be drummed out of polite society?

It's a fascinating read. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

How original! - impugning a famous person's character, career or opinions (and better still a deceased person's) on the grounds of their alleged sexuality.

Use the Name, Luke said...

alleged sexuality

So apparently the person's own words are insufficient to avoid the "alleged" label or establish the connection demonstrated by those words.

Anonymous said...

If you can trust the correct reporting and context of a person's "alleged" words; and even if correct, any interpretation of those words can be easily biased if there is prejudice against the person or his/her views. And what better than to suggest or merely imply some sexual abnormality in certain respects ("odd" was an adjective used here).

Use the Name, Luke said...

The Sex Diaries of John Maynard Keynes

Anonymous said...

Yes Luke, a lot of wild (no pun intended) speculation there! As I said, biased interpretation, especially how it may have influenced his economic theories. I wonder if Marxism is based on an Oedipus Complex?!

Use the Name, Luke said...

I'm sorry you're suffering from blindness. Maybe you should try opening your eyes once in a while.

Anonymous said...

So as usual the "Christian" quickly resorts to puerile ad-hominem remarks when soon stuck for a reasonable counter-argument!!

Use the Name, Luke said...

As usual, the leftist demonstrates that he doesn't understand the ad hominem fallacy. Pointing out that you are ignoring data (the cherry picking fallacy) is not an ad hominem.

Anonymous said...

This "Luke" so-called Christian was first to refer to another poster in the two-person argument by reference to alleged personal deficiencies (eg. blindness) - I call that an ad-hominem, but religious types evidently call things whatever suits them.
However, "cherry-picking" is certainly a great talent of Christian apologists when discussing the Bible and their own religious history.
And of course Luke thinks anyone who disagrees with him is "leftist" which is just to him a way of dismissing them as wrong by definition.