Economists aren’t known for being the most sensitive of the social scientists. We prefer formalization to feelings, and some of us are better at making models than making friends. Apparently economic historians aren’t much better, as Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson recently suggested that John Maynard Keynes theory is flawed because he was gay. Keynes was merely the father of modern macro, and not the father of any actual human babies, so you know, that means he couldn’t have cared about what happened to future generations. Of course Keynes just wanted to do crazy things like stay out all night in seedy gay bars and “deficit spend” (that’s what the boys called it in those days).
Calling names is never classy, and gay-baiting is so passé (especially in the People’s Republic of New England). Keynes may have had a thing for dudes, but there are whole branches of economics dedicated to analyzing, debating, and challenging Keynesian thought – that don’t rely on old stories about his sex life. I know I’m a little biased here, but maybe Harvard professors should try to stop embarrassing their institution, at least until the whole Reinhart and Rogoff controversy blows over. Or perhaps this is their full employment plan for Stephan Colbert.