Niall Ferguson is one of the world’s leading historians of the global economy. He is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and at Jesus College, Oxford. He shares his renowned expertise through his best-selling and acclaimed works, including his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest.
Recently released, Civilization is a look at Western civilization’s rise to global dominance and the reasons for its recent decline. In his book, Ferguson argues that, beginning in the 15th century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the “rest” lacked: (1.) competition, (2.) science, (3.) rule of law, (4.) consumerism, (5.) modern medicine, and (6.) work ethic. These allowed Western countries to open global trade routes, exploit newly-discovered scientific laws, evolve a system of representative government, double life expectancy, invent new technologies, and increase productivity. Fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of the world’s population and four-fifths of the global economy.
Yet now, Ferguson argues, the days of Western dominance are numbered. The West no longer has a monopoly on the concepts that propelled it to the top, and the “rest” are catching up, adapting, and taking over.
Watch Ferguson discussing Civilization on The Colbert Report.
With verve, clarity, and wit, Ferguson addresses economic issues in both his books and in his presentations. The ambitious themes he explores include the costs and benefits of economic globalization, the interface between finance and politics, the lessons to be learned from the British experience of empire, and the strengths and limitation of American global power.
A public intellectual whose work impacts finance, government, and academia, Niall Ferguson is controversial, expansive, and eloquent and has been called “the most talented British historian of his generation.” He is a prolific commentator on contemporary economics and politics for the American and British press (as well as an experienced radio and television presenter), and his work regularly appears in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, The New York Review of Books and many other publications.
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