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Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

 

Experience

Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford.

He has published fourteen books. His first, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927, was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award, while the collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, was a UK bestseller. In 1998 he published to international critical acclaim The Pity of War: Explaining World War One and The World’s Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild. The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and was also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award. In 2001, after a year as Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England, he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000.

Niall Ferguson is also a regular contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003 he wrote and presented a six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4, the UK terrestrial broadcaster. The accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, was a bestseller in both Britain and the United States. The sequel, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, was published in 2004 by Penguin, and prompted Time magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Two years later he published The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, a television adaptation of which was screened by PBS in 2007. The international bestseller, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, followed in 2008; it too was a PBS series, winning the International Emmy award for Best Documentary, as well as the Handelszeitung Economics Book Prize. In 2011 he published Civilization: The West and the Rest, also a Channel 4/PBS documentary series. This was followed in 2012 by a three-part television series “China: Triumph and Turmoil”.

Ferguson is an accomplished biographer. In addition to the history of the Rothschild family, he recently published High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg (2010) and is currently writing a life of Henry Kissinger. In 2011 his film company Chimerica Media released its first feature-length documentary, “Kissinger”, which won the New York Film Festival’s prize for Best Documentary. His most recent book is The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, which will be published in the United States this June.

A prolific commentator on contemporary politics and economics, Ferguson writes regularly for newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. He was the Philippe Roman Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics in 2010-11 and the BBC Reith Lecturer for 2012. He is a member of the board of trustees of the American Academy in Berlin, the Museum of American Finance and the New York Historical Society.  His many prizes and awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010) and the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012).

 

 

By Date

 

2014

BBC-2

February 23, 2014

Why Obama Must Stop History Repeating Itself

Op-Ed, The Sunday Times

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

It is hard indeed to romanticise the First World War. Those khaki uniforms have none of the glamour of the redcoats worn by British soldiersback in 1775 or 1815. Good luck to anyone who wants to re-enact the effects of a machinegun on advancing infantry or the impact of a howitzershell on a trench.

 

 

AP Images

February 21, 2014

"Niall Ferguson: America's Global Retreat"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Never mind the Fed's taper, it's the U.S. geopolitical taper that is stirring world anxiety. From Ukraine to Syria to the Pacific, a hands-off foreign policy invites more trouble.

 

2013

(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

December 26, 2013

"Mexico's Economic Reform Breakout"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Pierpaolo Barbieri, Former Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, International Security Program, 2011–2013 and Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

For much of the last decade, Mexico and Brazil were a study in contrasts. "Brazil Takes Off" was a typical magazine cover, depicting Rio's huge statue of Christ literally blasting off. The equivalent story for Mexico was "The War Next Door: Why Mexico's Drug Violence is America's Problem Too."

In the past two years, however, the roles have been reversed. Riots in São Paulo and the downfall of billionaire Eike Batista have badly dented Brazil's glamorous image. Meanwhile, a succession of bold moves by Mexico's charismatic new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, have finally awakened foreign observers to the fact that Mexico is Latin America's new "country of the future."

 

 

November 6, 2013

U.S. and China Both Need Economic Rehab

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Moritz Schularick

Nearly seven years have passed since we coined the word Chimerica in these pages to characterize the symbiotic relationship between China and America. Few today would dispute that op-ed's original point: that the unbalanced economic relationship between China and America posed a threat to global financial stability. Without the flow of Chinese savings into U.S. dollars, as a result of Beijing's large-scale currency intervention and reserve accumulation, American interest rates would surely have been higher and the housing bubble would have inflated less.

 

 

June 3, 2013

"The E.U.'s Feeble War on Unemployment"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Pierpaolo Barbieri, Former Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, International Security Program, 2011–2013

"Banking regulation may not be the most voter-friendly topic. Yet the reality is that the best way to create employment in the periphery is by ending the fragmentation of the financial system that continues to plague Europe. As long as Greek, Portuguese, Spanish or Italian entrepreneurs need to pay a premium of between 4 and 6 percent above what their German counterparts pay on bank loans, how can they possibly start new businesses?"

 

2012

November 30, 2012

"Turning Points"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

We yearn for turning points, writes Niall Ferguson. "Just as economists have predicted nine out of the last five recessions, so journalists have surely reported nine out of the last five revolutions. Every election is hailed as epoch-making. Every president is expected to have a new foreign policy 'doctrine.' A minor redesign of a cellular phone is hailed by the devotees of the Apple cult as a 'paradigm shift.'"

 

 

October 15, 2012

"What Biden Doesn't Want You to Know"

Op-Ed, The Daily Beast

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"Current veep Joe Biden certainly sought to play last Thursday’s vice-presidential debate for laughs. Embarrassingly for Democrats, the laughs were mainly his own. Guffawing, chortling—all but slapping his thighs and wiping away the tears—Biden might equally well have been arguing about the relative merits of whiskey and poteen in a hostelry with a name like 'The Shamrock'" writes Niall Ferguson.

 

 

October 8, 2012

"Europe's New Fascists"

Op-Ed, Newsweek

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

“It can be a mistake to laugh at fascists,” writes the Belfer Center’s Niall Ferguson, “Charlie Chaplin mocked Hitler and Mussolini in The Great Dictator. P.G. Wodehouse had fun with his preposterous parody of Oswald Mosley, Roderick Spode. But Nazism turned out to be no joke.... So when a party called “Golden Dawn”—which has something that looks a lot like a swastika as its logo— starts denying aspects of the Holocaust and heaping opprobrium on immigrants, it’s best to keep a straight face. Sure, they’re Greeks, not Germans... But if elections were held tomorrow, these guys could become the third-largest party in the Greek Parliament.”

 

 

Guang Niu

September 24, 2012

All the Asian Rage

Op-Ed, Newsweek

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Belfer Center Board member, Niall Ferguson, examines China and Japan's relationships with the United States' administration.

 

 

September 3, 2012

"The Fed's Dirty Easy Money"

Op-Ed, Newsweek

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Niall Ferguson, member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors, reacts to the Fed's economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. held last week. Ferguson grades Bernanke on S&P performance, price stability, and unemployment. He also applauds Paul Ryan's Republican National Convention speech on economic possibilities.

 

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