British historian Niall Ferguson recently made some very stupid claims about Maynard Keynes: that Keynes’ sexuality and childlessness led him to ignore the long-run consequences of deficit spending.
Ferguson, who started off as a historian of finance but who has more recently become something of a celebrity writer and presenter on the purported decline of Western Civ and All That, has apologised and recognised his remarks were dumb as well as offensive.
But there’s something more at play here than Ferguson’s ill judged comments.
Dillon Tatum nails it at Salon:
Austerity, as a policy issue, is increasingly characterized by a sexual politics that aims to depoliticize and legitimate arguments for anti-interventionist economic policies. Not only does this carry with it enormous consequences for the practice of scholarly inquiry, it also makes for a poor science of political economy.
Read the whole thing here.
Update: Another commentary from Michael Roberts.