Ezra Klein at Wonkblog:
… perhaps you’ve been spending your Saturday somewhere other than the economics blogosphere, where the topic du jour is some off-color comments Harvard historian and Daily Beast contributor Niall Ferguson made about John Maynard Keynes’s famed observation that “In the long run we are all dead.” The initial report on Ferguson’s talk came from Tom Kostigen, so I’ll let him explain:
Speaking at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., in front of a group of more than 500 financial advisors and investors, Ferguson responded to a question about Keynes’ famous philosophy of self-interest versus the economic philosophy of Edmund Burke, who believed there was a social contract among the living, as well as the dead. Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of “poetry” rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive.
It gets worse.
Ferguson, who is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, says it’s only logical that Keynes would take this selfish worldview because he was an “effete” member of society.
As Klein points out, Ferguson has apologized. You be the judge of whether of it suffices. (As this shows, it wasn’t passing thought.)
Quite a few studies and surveys have found that gay couples save much more than straight couples. Brighita Negrusa and Sonia Oreffice, for instance, analyzed census data and found that even after controlling for age, education and other socioeconomic factors, “gay and lesbian couples own significantly more retirement income than heterosexuals.” Part of the difference, of course, is that gay couples are much less likely to have children than straight couples, which means they have more household income left over to save.
Niall Ferguson is good at getting things wrong. In 2011 writing in The Daily Beast:
Yes, folks, double-digit inflation is back. Pretty soon you’ll be able to figure out the real inflation rate just by moving the decimal point in the core CPI one place to the right.
Please. Our economic problem is unemployment, not inflation.
Much more accurate relative to today’s macroeconomy, Keyne’s in 1930 wrote Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. A good read for The Lead followers.