Saturday, November 13, 2010

John Maynard Keynes Didn't Just Screw Up Economics...

I heard a rather astonishing claim about John Maynard Keynes and when I did a little searching--discovered that it seems to be well attested.  From Zygmund Dobbs, Keynes at Harvard: Economic Deception as a Political Credo (1969):

Keynes’ aversion to human conception and marital fidelity, defeminization of women via state intervention and the shattering of the family as a cohesive unit sound strangely like something out of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. The above item on “sexual offenses and abnormalities” is indeed a strange note. Keynesian apologists have maintained an uncomfortable silence on J.M. Keynes championing the cause of sexual offenders.

In 1967 the world was startled by the publication of the letters between Lytton Strachey and Maynard Keynes. Undisputed evidence in their private correspondence shows that Keynes was a life-long sexual deviate.(12) What was more shocking was that these practices extended to a large group. Homosexuality, sado-masochism, lesbianism, and the deliberate policy of corrupting the young was the established practice of this large and influential group which eventually set the political and cultural tone for the British Empire.

...

Keynes and his fellow voluptuaries made numerous excursions to the resorts ringing the Mediterranean, where little boys were sold by their parents to bordellos catering to homosexual appetites.(14)
From Malcolm Potts and Roger Valentine Short, Ever Since Adam and Eve: The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 61:
John Maynard Keynes revolutionized modern economic theory; he married when he was 42 but had more fun with the 'Cambridge Apostles', and his private diaries record his conquest of little boys and male street prostitutes.
No wonder Keynes is the hero of so many intellectuals.

5 comments:

John said...

I've known since the 70's that Keynes was gay but did not know about the other stuff. Rather disturbing.

I've always thought that Keynes' focus on the short run was influenced by his homosexuality. He most famously said "In the long run we are all dead" That may be true for the childless, it is arguably not true for those with children. We achieve immortality of a sort through our children.

John Henry

Clayton said...

I had thought that he had a son, also an economist, but I appear to have been mistaken.

Interesting that Keynes, the great economist, was nearly wiped out by the Great Depression--which he did not forsee.

Rorschach said...

So Obama is a Keynesian in virtually every sense of the word....

Rich Rostrom said...

I wouldn't take the Dobbs book seriously.

Zygmund Dobbs appears to have been a right-wing crank of the John Birch stripe. He was "Research Director" of the Veritas Foundation.

The VF was set up by Archie Roosevelt (son of Teddy) to root out subversion at Harvard and elsewhere. Roosevelt was a Bircher too.

[Note: the original VF dissolved many years ago; there is a new VF in Texas which is a Christian charity group.]

All of Dobbs' books were published by the VF and similar fringe groups. He appears to have shared the Birchite delusion that the civil rights movement was a Communist Plot (Red intrigue and race turmoil, 1958).

He's right about Keynes' behavior, but the conspiracy rhetoric is unsupported.

Potts and Short are much more credible. Both are reproductive biologists with extensive credentials. Short was a professor at Monash U. in Australia; Potts holds a chair at Cal Berkeley and is a famous abortionist. (Really.)

BTW, the first Potts and Short link is broken. The second could be shortened by over 200 characters to
http://books.google.com/books?id=RoDv0JiIqF4C&pg=PA61

Dom said...

Rich, thanks for the information. I remember when the Keynes-Strachey letters came out. It was surprising, even if you knew about Keynes' sexuality. But statements like, "...this large and influential group ... eventually set the political and cultural tone for the British Empire" are clearly beyond the pale.