The War of the World — Videos

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The War of the World — Episode 1

The War of the World — Episode 2

The War of the World — Episode 3

The War of the World — Episode 4

The War of the World — Episode 5

The War of the World — Episode 6

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Niall Ferguson- Empire: The Rise and Demise of The Bristish World Order and The Lessons for Global Power — Videos

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Niall Ferguson- Empire – How Britain Made the Modern World: Empire for Sale (1 of 5)

Niall Ferguson – Empire – How Britain made the modern world: Empire for Sale (2 of 5)

Niall Ferguson – Empire – How Britain made the modern world: Empire for Sale (3 of 5)

Niall Ferguson – Empire – How Britain made the modern world: Empire for Sale (4 of 5)

Niall Ferguson – Empire – How Britain made the modern world: Empire for Sale (5 of 5)

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World | Why Britain? | ep 1 of 6 HD

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World – White Plague – Ep 2 of 6 HD

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World – The Mission – ep 3 of 6 HD

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World – Heavans Breed – ep 4 of 6 HD

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World – Maxim Force – ep 5 of 6 HD

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World – Empire For Sale – ep 6 of 6 HD

Background Articles and Videos

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity

Conversations with History: Niall Ferguson

[CIS 2010 John Bonython lecture] Niall Ferguson – Empires on the Edge of Chaos

The West and the Rest: The Changing Global Balance of Power in Historical Perspective

Was WWI the Error of Modern History? (Interview with Niall Ferguson )

Niall Ferguson on ‘misunderstood’ Henry Kissinger

Niall Ferguson on the Life of Henry Kissinger

Niall Ferguson, “Kissinger”

The Empire Dialogues: The U.S. and World Order

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Niall Ferguson — The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World, Financial Crisis, Empire, Descent of Money and Beyond The War of The World — Videos

Posted on December 24, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Crisis, Documentary, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Tax Policy, Technology, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World by Niall Ferguson Epsd 1 5 Full Documentary

Professor Niall Ferguson – The Descent of Money

Niall Ferguson on importance of civil institutions and more, at Norwegian Nobel Institute

Niall Ferguson on the recent financial meltdown

Niall Ferguson – The Ascent of Money

Niall Ferguson at Charlie Rose 2011

[BBC Parliament] Niall Ferguson Lecture on his new book, The Ascent of Money – 14-12-08

Niall Ferguson Interview: Books, Financial History, Cash Nexus, Economics, Ascent of Money (2004)

Ferguson: Fiscal Crises and Imperial Collapses

Niall Ferguson: Fiscal Crises and Imperial Collapses: Historical Perspective on Current Predicaments

China and the West: Divergence and Convergence

NEED TO KNOW Niall Ferguson on the Tea Party, budget cuts and the economy

Niall Ferguson – Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World – Why Britain? 1/5

Niall Ferguson – Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World – Why Britain? 2/5

Niall Ferguson – Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World – Why Britain? 3/5

Niall Ferguson – Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World – Why Britain? 4/5

Niall Ferguson – Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World – Why Britain? 5/5

Conversations with History: Niall Ferguson

war of the world

The War of the World — Episode 1

The War of the World — Episode 2

The War of the World — Episode 3

The War of the World — Episode 4

The War of the World — Episode 5

The War of the World — Episode 6

 

Niall Ferguson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Niels Ferguson.
Niall Ferguson
Born Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson
18 April 1964 (age 50)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality British
Fields International history, economic history, American and British imperial history
Institutions Harvard University
Stanford
New York University
New College of the Humanities
Jesus College, Oxford
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Known for Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World
Influences Thomas Hobbes, Norman Stone,A. J. P. Taylor, Kenneth Clark,Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek,Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes, David Landes
Spouse Sue Douglas (1987–2011)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2011–present)

Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson (/ˈnl ˈfɜr.ɡə.sən/; born 18 April 1964)[1] is a Scottish historian. He is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford, a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities. His specialties are international history, economic history, particularly hyperinflation and the bond markets, and British and Americanimperialism.[2] He is known for his provocative, contrarian views.[3]

Ferguson’s books include Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World and Civilization: The West and the Rest, all of which he has presented as Channel 4 television series.

In 2004, he was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Since 2011,[dated info] he has been a contributing editor for Bloomberg Television[4][5] and a columnist for Newsweek.

Ferguson was an advisor to John McCain’s U.S. presidential campaign in 2008, and announced his support for Mitt Romney in 2012 and has been a vocal critic of Barack Obama.[6][7]

Early life

Ferguson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on 18 April 1964. His father was a doctor and his mother a physics teacher.[8][9] He attended The Glasgow Academy.[10] He was brought up as, and remains, an atheist.[11]

Ferguson cites his father as instilling in him a strong sense of self-discipline and of the moral value of work, while his mother encouraged his creative side.[12] His journalist maternal grandfather encouraged him to write.[12] Unable to decide on studying an English or a history degree at university, Ferguson cites his reading of War and Peace as persuading him towards history.[9]

University of Oxford

Ferguson received a Demyship (half-scholarship) at Magdalen College, Oxford.[13] While there he wrote the 90 minute student film ‘The Labours of Hercules Sprote’ and became best friends with Andrew Sullivan, based on a shared affinity for right-wing politics and punk music.[14] He had become a Thatcherite by 1982, identifying the position with “the Sex Pistols‘ position in 1977: it was a rebellion against the stuffy corporatism of the 70s.”[9] While at university “He was very much a Scot on the make … Niall was a witty, belligerent bloke who seemed to have come from an entirely different planet,” according to Simon Winder.[14]Ferguson has stated that “I was surrounded by insufferable Etonians with fake Cockney accents who imagined themselves to be working-class heroes in solidarity with the striking miners. It wasn’t long before it became clear that the really funny and interesting people on campus were Thatcherites.”[14]

He graduated with a first-class honours degree in history in 1985.[13] He received his D.Phil from Magdalen College in 1989, and his dissertation was entitled “Business and Politics in the German Inflation: Hamburg 1914–1924”.[15]

Career

Academic career

Ferguson is a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is a resident faculty member of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and an advisory fellow of the Barsanti Military History Center at the University of North Texas.

In May 2010, he announced that the Education Secretary Michael Gove in the UK’s Conservative/Lib Dem government had invited him to advise on the development of a new history syllabus—”history as a connected narrative”—for schools in England and Wales.[17][18] In June 2011, he joined other academics to set up the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[19]

Fellow academics have questioned Ferguson’s commitment to scholarship. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, an editor of The Washington Monthly, comments that

The House of Rothschild remains Ferguson’s only major work to have received prizes and wide acclaim from other historians. Research restrains sweeping, absolute claims: Rothschild is the last book Ferguson wrote for which he did original archival work, and his detailed knowledge of his subject meant that his arguments for it couldn’t be too grand.”[20]

John Lewis Gaddis, a Cold War era historian, characterised Ferguson as having unrivaled “range, productivity and visibility” at the same time as criticising his work as being “unpersuasive”. Gaddis goes on to state that “several of Ferguson’s claims, moreover, are contradictory”.[21]

Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm has praised Ferguson as an excellent historian.[22] However, he has also criticised Ferguson, saying, on the BBC Radio programme Start the Week, that he was a “nostalgist for empire”.[23] Ferguson responded to the above criticisms in a Washington Post “Live Discussions” online forum in 2006.[24] [clarification needed]

Business career

In 2007, Ferguson was appointed as an investment management consultant by GLG Partners, focusing on geopolitical risk as well as current structural issues in economic behaviour relating to investment decisions.[25] GLG is a UK-based hedge fund management firm headed by Noam Gottesman.[26]

Career as commentator

In October 2007, Ferguson left The Sunday Telegraph to join the Financial Times where he was a contributing editor.[27][28] He also writes for Newsweek.[17]

Ferguson has often described the European Union as a disaster waiting to happen,[29] and has criticised President Vladimir Putin of Russia for authoritarianism. In Ferguson’s view, certain of Putin’s policies, if they continue, may stand to lead Russia to catastrophes equivalent to those that befell Germany during the Nazi era.[30]

Books

The Cash Nexus

In his 2001 book, The Cash Nexus, which he wrote following a year as Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England,[28] Ferguson argues that the popular saying, “money makes the world go ’round”, is wrong; instead he presented a case for human actions in history motivated by far more than just economic concerns.

Colossus and Empire

In his books Colossus and Empire, Ferguson presents a reinterpretation of the history of the British Empire and in conclusion proposes that the modern policies of the United Kingdom and the United States, in taking a more active role in resolving conflict arising from the failure of states, are analogous to the ‘Anglicization’ policies adopted by the British Empire throughout the 19th century.[31][32] In Colossus, Ferguson explores the United States’ hegemony in foreign affairs and its future role in the world.[33][34]

War of the World

The War of the World, published in 2006, had been ten years in the making and is a comprehensive analysis of the savagery of the 20th century. Ferguson shows how a combination of economic volatility, decaying empires, psychopathic dictators, and racially/ethnically motivated (and institutionalised) violence resulted in the wars and the genocides of what he calls “History’s Age of Hatred”. The New York Times Book Reviewnamed War of the World one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year in 2006, while the International Herald Tribune called it “one of the most intriguing attempts by an historian to explain man’s inhumanity to man“.[35]Ferguson addresses the paradox that, though the 20th century was “so bloody”, it was also “a time of unparalleled [economic] progress”. As with his earlier work Empire,[36] War of the World was accompanied by aChannel 4 television series presented by Ferguson.[37]

The Ascent of Money

Published in 2008, The Ascent of Money examines the long history of money, credit, and banking. In it he predicts a financial crisis as a result of the world economy and in particular the United States using too much credit. Specifically he cites the ChinaAmerica dynamic which he refers to as Chimerica where an Asian “savings glut” helped create the subprime mortgage crisis with an influx of easy money.[38] While researching this book, in early 2007, he attended a conference in Las Vegas where a hedge fund manager stated there would never be another recession, Ferguson stood up and challenged him on it. Later the 2 agreed a 7 to 1 bet, that there would be another recession, for $14,000, with Ferguson paying that amount if he lost and winning $98,000. “I said, ‘Never is a very bad timeframe,'” Ferguson said. “‘Let’s say five years.'” Ferguson collected his winnings as he knew having researched the book and written several papers on economics in history, so knew another recession would definitely occur and with this bet placed a timeline of it occurring before 2012.[39]

Civilization

Published in 2011, Civilization: The West and the Rest examines what Ferguson calls the most “interesting question” of our day: “Why, beginning around 1500, did a few small polities on the western end of the Eurasian landmass come to dominate the rest of the world?” He attributes this divergence to the West’s development of six “killer apps” largely missing elsewhere in the world – “competition, science, the rule of law, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic”.[17] A related documentary Civilization: Is the West History? was broadcast as a six-part series on Channel 4 in March and April 2011.[40]

Opinions and research

World War I

In 1998, Ferguson published the critically acclaimed The Pity of War: Explaining World War One, which with the help of research assistants he was able to write in just five months.[13][14] This is an analytic account of what Ferguson considered to be the ten great myths of the Great War. The book generated much controversy, particularly Ferguson’s suggestion that it might have proved more beneficial for Europe if Britain had stayed out of the First World War in 1914, thereby allowing Germany to win.[41] Ferguson has argued that the British decision to intervene was what stopped a German victory in 1914–15. Furthermore, Ferguson expressed disagreement with the Sonderweg interpretation of German history championed by some German historians such as Fritz Fischer, Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Hans Mommsen and Wolfgang Mommsen, who argued that the German Empire deliberately started an aggressive war in 1914. Likewise, Ferguson has often attacked the work of the German historian Michael Stürmer, who argued that it was Germany’s geographical situation in Central Europe that determined the course of German history.

On the contrary, Ferguson maintained that Germany waged a preventive war in 1914, a war largely forced on the Germans by reckless and irresponsible British diplomacy. In particular, Ferguson accused the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey of maintaining an ambiguous attitude to the question of whether Britain would enter the war or not, and thus confusing Berlin over just what was the British attitude towards the question of intervention in the war.[42] Ferguson accused London of unnecessarily allowing a regional war in Europe to escalate into a world war. Moreover, Ferguson denied that the origins of National Socialismcould be traced back to Imperial Germany; instead Ferguson asserted the origins of Nazism could only be traced back to the First World War and its aftermath.

Ferguson attacked a number of ideas which he called “myths” in the book. They are listed here, (with his counter-arguments in parentheses):

  • Germany was a highly militarist country before 1914. (Ferguson argued that Germany was Europe’s most anti-militarist country when compared to countries like Britain and France.)[43]
  • The naval threat posed by Germany drove Britain into an informal alliance with France and Russia before 1914. (Ferguson argues that the British decided to align themselves with Russia and France seeing them as more influential and powerful than Germany.)[44]
  • British policy was due to a legitimate fear of Germany. (Ferguson shows how Germany posed no significant threat to Britain and British fears were driven by propaganda and economic self interest.)[45]
  • The pre-1914 arms race was consuming increasingly larger portions of national budgets at an unsustainable rate. (Ferguson demonstrates using actual budget information of the European powers that the only limitations on more military spending before 1914 were political, not economic.)[46]
  • That World War I was an act of aggression on the part of Germany that provoked the British to stop Germany from conquering Europe. (Ferguson infers that if Germany had been victorious over France and Russia, something like the European Union would have been created in 1914. It would have been for the best if Britain had chosen to opt out of war in 1914, as Germany just wanted its “place in the sun.”)[47]
  • Most people were enthusiastic when the war started in 1914. (Ferguson claims that most Europeans were saddened by the start of war, especially when it dragged on long after it was supposed to end.)[48]
  • That propaganda was successful in making men wish to fight. (Ferguson states that propaganda was not nearly as effective as most experts argue.)[49]
  • The Allies utilized their economic resources to the fullest. (Ferguson argues that the allies made poor use of their vast economic resources such as those coming from their colonies as well as corruption in the war time governments. France and Britain both possessed huge colonial possessions that offered a plethora of resources as well as man power.)[50]
  • That the British and the French possessed better armies than the central powers. (Ferguson claims that the German Army was superior, with better equipment and leadership.)[51]
  • The Allies were better at killing Germans throughout the war. (Ferguson statistically shows that the Germans were actually far superior in exacting casualties than the Allies, this is due to German strategy and use of poison gas.)[52]
  • The majority of soldiers hated fighting in the war due to intolerable conditions. (Ferguson asserts that most soldiers fought due to nationalism and a sense of duty.)[53]
  • The British treated German prisoners more humanely than the Germans did. (Ferguson cites numerous occasions in which British officers ordered the killing of German prisoners of war.)[54]
  • Germany was faced with reparations that could not be paid except at the expense of the German economy. (Ferguson attempts to prove that Germany could have paid reparations if they had been willing.)[55]

Another controversial aspect of The Pity of War is Ferguson’s use of counterfactual history also known as “speculative” or “hypothetical” history. In the book, Ferguson presents a hypothetical version of Europe being, under Imperial German domination, a peaceful, prosperous, democratic continent, without ideologies like communism or fascism.[56] In Ferguson’s view, had Germany won World War I, then the lives of millions would have been saved, something like the European Union would have been founded in 1914, and Britain would have remained an empire as well as the world’s dominant financial power.[56]

Rothschilds

Ferguson wrote two volumes about the prominent Rothschild family:

  • The House of Rothschild: Volume 1: Money’s Prophets: 1798–1848[57]
  • The House of Rothschild: Volume 2: The World’s Banker: 1849–1999[58]

The books won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and were also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award.[28]

Counterfactual history

Ferguson sometimes champions counterfactual history, also known as “speculative” or “hypothetical” history, and edited a collection of essays, titled Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (1997), exploring the subject.

Ferguson likes to imagine alternative outcomes as a way of stressing the contingent aspects of history. For Ferguson, great forces don’t make history; individuals do, and nothing is predetermined. Thus, for Ferguson, there are no paths in history that will determine how things will work out. The world is neither progressing nor regressing; only the actions of individuals determine whether we will live in a better or worse world.

His championing of the method has been controversial within the field.[59]

In a 2011 review of Ferguson’s book Civilization: The West and the Rest, Noel Malcolm (Senior Research Fellow in History at All Souls College at Oxford University) stated that: “Students may find this an intriguing introduction to a wide range of human history; but they will get an odd idea of how historical argument is to be conducted, if they learn it from this book.”[60]

Henry Kissinger

In 2003, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger provided Ferguson with access to his White House diaries, letters, and archives for what Ferguson calls a “warts-and-all biography” of Kissinger.[61]

Colonialism

Ferguson is critical of what he calls the “self-flagellation” that he says characterises modern European thought.

“The moral simplification urge is an extraordinarily powerful one, especially in this country, where imperial guilt can lead to self-flagellation,” he told a reporter. “And it leads to very simplistic judgments. The rulers of western Africa prior to the European empires were not running some kind of scout camp. They were engaged in the slave trade. They showed zero sign of developing the country’s economic resources. Did Senegal ultimately benefit from French rule? Yes, it’s clear. And the counterfactual idea that somehow the indigenous rulers would have been more successful in economic development doesn’t have any credibility at all.”[17]

Richard Drayton, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at the University of London, has stated that it is correct to associate “Ferguson with an attempt to ‘rehabilitate empire’ in the service of contemporary great power interests”.[62]

Bernard Porter attacked Empire in The London Review of Books as a “panegyric to British colonialism”.[63] Ferguson in response to this drew Porter’s attention to the conclusion of the book, where he writes: “No one would claim that the record of the British Empire was unblemished. On the contrary, I have tried to show how often it failed to live up to its own ideal of individual liberty, particularly in the early era of enslavement, transportation and the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of indigenous peoples.” Ferguson argues however that the British Empire was preferable to the alternatives:

‘The 19th-century empire undeniably pioneered free trade, free capital movements and, with the abolition of slavery, free labour. It invested immense sums in developing a global network of modern communications. It spread and enforced the rule of law over vast areas. Though it fought many small wars, the empire maintained a global peace unmatched before or since. In the 20th century too the empire more than justified its own existence. For the alternatives to British rule represented by the German and Japanese empires were clearly – and they admitted it themselves – far worse. And without its empire, it is inconceivable that Britain could have withstood them.’[63]

Exchange with Pankaj Mishra

In November 2011 Pankaj Mishra reviewed Civilisation: The West and the Rest unfavourably in the London Review of Books.[64] Ferguson demanded an apology and threatened to sue Mishra on charges of libel due to allegations of racism.[65]

Islam and “Eurabia”

Matthew Carr wrote in Race & Class that

“Niall Ferguson, the conservative English [sic] historian and enthusiastic advocate of a new American empire, has also embraced the Eurabian idea in a widely reproduced article entitled ‘Eurabia?’,”[66]

in which he laments the ‘de-Christianization of Europe’ and its culture of secularism that leaves the continent ‘weak in the face of fanaticism’.” Carr adds that

“Ferguson sees the recent establishment of a department of Islamic studies in his Oxford college as another symptom of ‘the creeping Islamicization of a decadent Christendom”,

and that in a 2004 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute entitled ‘The End of Europe?’,[67]

“Ferguson struck a similarly Spenglerian note, conjuring the term ‘impire’ to depict a process in which a ‘political entity, instead of expanding outwards towards its periphery, exporting power, implodes – when the energies come from outside into that entity’. In Ferguson’s opinion, this process was already under way in a decadent ‘post-Christian’ Europe that was drifting inexorably towards the dark denouement of a vanquished civilisation and the fatal embrace of Islam.”[68]

Iraq War

Ferguson supported the 2003 Iraq War, and he is on record as not necessarily opposed to future western incursions around the world.

“It’s all very well for us to sit here in the West with our high incomes and cushy lives, and say it’s immoral to violate the sovereignty of another state. But if the effect of that is to bring people in that country economic and political freedom, to raise their standard of living, to increase their life expectancy, then don’t rule it out”.[17]

Economic policy

In its 15 August 2005 edition, The New Republic published “The New New Deal”, an essay by Ferguson and Laurence J. Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University. The two scholars called for the following changes to the American government’s fiscal and income security policies:

  • Replacing the personal income tax, corporate income tax, Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA), estate tax, and gift tax with a 33% Federal Retail Sales Tax (FRST), plus a monthly rebate, amounting to the amount of FRST that a household with similar demographics would pay if its income were at the poverty line. See also: FairTax
  • Replacing the old age benefits paid under Social Security with a Personal Security System, consisting of private retirement accounts for all citizens, plus a government benefit payable to those whose savings were insufficient to afford a minimum retirement income
  • Replacing Medicare and Medicaid with a Medical Security System that would provide health insurance vouchers to all citizens, the value of which would be determined by one’s health
  • Cutting federal discretionary spending by 20%

In November 2012, Ferguson stated in a video with CNN that the U.S. has enough energy resources to move towards energy independence and could possibly enter a new economic golden age due to the related socio-economic growth—coming out of the post-world economic recession doldrums.[69]

Ferguson was an attendee of the 2012 Bilderberg Group meeting, where he was a speaker on economic policy.[70]

Exchanges with Paul Krugman

In May 2009, Ferguson became involved in a high-profile exchange of views with economist Paul Krugman (2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics) arising out of a panel discussion hosted by PEN/New York Review on 30 April 2009, regarding the U.S. economy. Ferguson contended that the Obama administration’s policies are simultaneously Keynesian and monetarist, in an “incoherent” mix, and specifically claimed that the government’s issuance of a multitude of new bonds would cause an increase in interest rates.[71]

Krugman argued that Ferguson’s view is “resurrecting 75-year old fallacies” and full of “basic errors”. He also stated that Ferguson is a “poseur” who “hasn’t bothered to understand the basics, relying on snide comments and surface cleverness to convey the impression of wisdom. It’s all style, no comprehension of substance.”[72][73][74][75]

In 2012, Jonathan Portes, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said that subsequent events had shown Ferguson to be wrong: “As we all know, since then both the US and UK have had deficits running at historically extremely high levels, and long-term interest rates at historic lows: as Krugman has repeatedly pointed out, the (IS-LM) textbook has been spot on.”[76]

Later in 2012, after Ferguson wrote a cover story for Newsweek arguing that Mitt Romney should be elected in the upcoming US presidential election, Krugman wrote that there were multiple errors and misrepresentations in the story, concluding “We’re not talking about ideology or even economic analysis here – just a plain misrepresentation of the facts, with an august publication letting itself be used to misinform readers. The Times would require an abject correction if something like that slipped through. Will Newsweek?”[77] Ferguson denied that he had misrepresented the facts in an online rebuttal.[78] Matthew O’Briencountered that Ferguson was still distorting the meaning of the CBO report being discussed, and that the entire piece could be read as an effort to deceive.[79]

In 2013, Ferguson, naming Dean Baker, Josh Barro, Brad DeLong, Matthew O’Brien, Noah Smith, Matthew Yglesias and Justin Wolfers, attacked “Krugman and his acolytes,” in his three-part essay on why he hates Paul Krugman,[80] whose title is originally made by Noah Smith.[81]

Remarks on Keynes’ sexual orientation

At a May 2013 investment conference in Carlsbad, California, Ferguson was asked about his views on economist John Maynard Keynes‘s quotation that “in the long run we are all dead.” Ferguson stated that Keynes was indifferent to the future because he was gay and did not have children.[82]

The remarks were widely criticised for being offensive, factually inaccurate, and a distortion of Keynes’ ideas.[83][84]

Ferguson posted an apology for these statements shortly after reports of his words were widely disseminated, saying his comments were “as stupid as they were insensitive”.[85] In the apology, Ferguson stated: “My disagreements with Keynes’s economic philosophy have never had anything to do with his sexual orientation. It is simply false to suggest, as I did, that his approach to economic policy was inspired by any aspect of his personal life.”[86]

Personal life

Ferguson married journalist Susan Douglas, whom he met in 1987 when she was his editor at the Daily Mail. They have three children.[87]

In February 2010, news media reported that Ferguson had separated from Douglas and started dating former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali.[88][89][90] Ferguson and Douglas divorced in 2011.

Ferguson married Hirsi Ali in September 2011[91] and Hirsi Ali gave birth to their son in December 2011.[92][93][94]

Ferguson dedicated his book Civilization to “Ayaan”. In an interview with The Guardian, Ferguson spoke about his love for Ali, who, he writes in the preface, “understands better than anyone I know what Western civilisation really means – and what it still has to offer the world”.[17] Ali, he continued,

…grew up in the Muslim world, was born in Somalia, spent time in Saudi Arabia, was a fundamentalist as a teenager. Her journey from the world of her childhood and family to where she is today is an odyssey that’s extremely hard for you or I [sic] to imagine. To see and hear how she understands western philosophy, how she understands the great thinkers of the Enlightenment, of the 19th-century liberal era, is a great privilege, because she sees it with a clarity and freshness of perspective that’s really hard for us to match. So much of liberalism in its classical sense is taken for granted in the west today and even disrespected. We take freedom for granted, and because of this we don’t understand how incredibly vulnerable it is.[17]

Ferguson’s self confessed workaholism has placed strains on his personal relations in the past. Ferguson has commented that:

…from 2002, the combination of making TV programmes and teaching at Harvard took me away from my children too much. You don’t get those years back. You have to ask yourself: “Was it a smart decision to do those things?” I think the success I have enjoyed since then has been bought at a significant price. In hindsight, there would have been a bunch of things that I would have said no to.[12]

Ferguson was the inspiration for Alan Bennett‘s play The History Boys (2004), particularly the character of Irwin, a history teacher who urges his pupils to find a counterintuitive angle, and goes on to become a television historian.[8] Bennett’s character “Irwin” gives the impression that “an entire career can be built on the trick of contrariness.”[8]

Bibliography

Publications

As contributor

  • “Let Germany Keep Its Nerve”, The Spectator, 22 April 1995, pages 21–23[95]
  • “Europa nervosa”, in Nader Mousavizadeh (ed.), The Black Book of Bosnia (New Republic/Basic Books, 1996), pp. 127–32
  • “The German inter-war economy: Political choice versus economic determinism” in Mary Fulbrook (ed.), German History since 1800 (Arnold, 1997), pp. 258–278
  • “The balance of payments question: Versailles and after” in Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman and Elisabeth Glaser (eds.), The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 401–440
  • “‘The Caucasian Royal Family’: The Rothschilds in national contexts” in R. Liedtke (ed.), ‘Two Nations’: The Historical Experience of British and German Jews in Comparison (J.C.B. Mohr, 1999)
  • “Academics and the Press”, in Stephen Glover (ed.), Secrets of the Press: Journalists on Journalism (Penguin, 1999), pp. 206–220
  • “Metternich and the Rothschilds: A reappraisal” in Andrea Hamel and Edward Timms (eds.), Progress and Emancipation in the Age of Metternich: Jews and Modernisation in Austria and Germany, 1815–1848(Edwin Mellen Press, 1999), pp. 295–325
  • “The European economy, 1815–1914” in T.C.W. Blanning (ed.), The Short Oxford History of Europe: The Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 78–125
  • “How (not) to pay for the war: Traditional finance and total war” in Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (eds.), Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 409–34
  • “Introduction” in Frederic Manning, Middle Parts of Fortune (Penguin, 2000), pp. vii–xviii
  • “Clashing civilizations or mad mullahs: The United States between informal and formal empire” in Strobe Talbott (ed.), The Age of Terror (Basic Books, 2001), pp. 113–41
  • “Public debt as a post-war problem: The German experience after 1918 in comparative perspective” in Mark Roseman (ed.), Three Post-War Eras in Comparison: Western Europe 1918-1945-1989 (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002), pp. 99–119
  • “Das Haus Sachsen-Coburg und die europäische Politik des 19. Jahrhunderts”, in Rainer von Hessen (ed.), Victoria Kaiserin Friedrich (1840–1901): Mission und Schicksal einer englischen Prinzessin in Deutschland (Campus Verlag, 2002), pp. 27–39
  • “Max Warburg and German politics: The limits of financial power in Wilhelmine Germany”, in Geoff Eley and James Retallack (eds.), Wilhelminism and Its Legacies: German Modernities, Imperialism and the Meaning of Reform, 1890–1930 (Berghahn Books, 2003), pp. 185–201
  • “Introduction”, The Death of the Past by J. H. Plumb (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. xxi–xlii
  • “Globalization in historical perspective: The political dimension”, in Michael D. Bordo, Alan M. Taylor and Jeffrey G. Williamson (eds.), Globalisation in Historical Perspective (National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report) (University of Chicago Press, 2003)
  • “Introduction to Tzvetan Todorov” in Nicholas Owen (ed.), Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Oxford Amnesty Lectures (Amnesty International, 2003)
  • “The City of London and British imperialism: New light on an old question”, in Youssef Cassis and Eric Bussière (eds.), London and Paris as International Financial Centres in the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 57–77
  • “A bolt from the blue? The City of London and the outbreak of the First World War”, in Wm. Roger Louis (ed.), Yet More Adventures with Britainnia: Personalities, Politics and Culture in Britain (I.B. Tauris, 2005), pp. 133–145
  • “The first ‘Eurobonds’: The Rothschilds and the financing of the Holy Alliance, 1818–1822”, in William N. Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst (eds.), The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 311–323
  • “Prisoner taking and prisoner killing in the age of total war”, in George Kassemiris (ed.), The Barbarization of Warfare (New York University Press, 2006), pp. 126–158
  • “The Second World War as an economic disaster”, in Michael Oliver (ed.), Economic Disasters of the Twentieth Century (Edward Elgar, 2007), pp. 83–132
  • “The Problem of Conjecture: American Strategy after the Bush Doctrine”, in Melvyn Leffler and Jeff Legro (eds.), To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Television documentaries

BBC Reith Lectures

Niall Ferguson recording the third of his 2012 BBC Reith Lecture atGresham College

In May 2012 the BBC announced Niall Ferguson was to present its annual Reith Lectures – a prestigious series of radio lectures which were first broadcast in 1948. These four lectures, titled The Rule of Law and its Enemies, examine the role man-made institutions have played in the economic and political spheres.[96]

In the first lecture, held at the London School of Economics, titled The Human Hive, Ferguson argues for greater openness from governments, saying they should publish accounts which clearly state all assets and liabilities. Governments, he said, should also follow the lead of business and adopt the Generally Accepted Accounting Principlesand, above all, generational accounts should be prepared on a regular basis to make absolutely clear the inter-generational implications of current fiscal policy. In the lecture, Ferguson says young voters should be more supportive of government austerity measures if they do not wish to pay further down the line for the profligacy of the baby boomergeneration.[97]

In the second lecture, The Darwinian Economy, Ferguson reflects on the causes of the global financial crisis, and erroneous conclusions that many people have drawn from it about the role of regulation, such as whether it is in fact “the disease of which it purports to be the cure”.

The Landscape of Law was the third lecture, delivered at Gresham College. It examines the rule of law in comparative terms, asking how far the common law‘s claims to superiority over other systems are credible, and whether we are living through a time of ‘creeping legal degeneration’ in the English-speaking world.

The fourth and final lecture, Civil and Uncivil Societies, focuses on institutions (outside the political, economic and legal realms) designed to preserve and transmit particular knowledge and values. It asks whether the modern state is quietly killing civil society in the Western world, and what non-Western societies can do to build a vibrant civil society.

The first lecture was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.[98] The series is available as a BBC podcast.[99]

See also

References

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Biography Niall Ferguson
  2. Jump up^ “Harvard University History Department — Faculty: Niall Ferguson”. History.fas.harvard.edu. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  3. Jump up^ “Turning Points”. The New York Times. Retrieved 16 September2013.
  4. Jump up^ “Niall Ferguson Says China `Hard Landing’ Unlikely”. bloomberg.com. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  5. Jump up^ “Spain Bank Crisis Is Not Over, Niall Ferguson Says”. bloomberg.com. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  6. Jump up^ “Why Obama Needs to Go,” Newsweek, 9 August 2012
  7. Jump up^ “Newsweek’s anti-Obama cover story: Has the magazine lost all credibility?” The Week, 21 August 2012
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c Smith, David (18 June 2006). “Niall Ferguson: The empire rebuilder”. The Observer (Guardian News and Media).
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c Templeton, Tom (18 January 2009). “This much I know: Niall Ferguson, historian, 44, London”. The Observer (Guardian News and Media).
  10. Jump up^ Tassel, Janet (2007). “The Global Empire of Niall Ferguson”.Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  11. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall (4 January 2008). “Niall Ferguson on Belief”. Big Think. Retrieved 17 June 2012. Recorded on: October 31, 2007
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b c Duncan, Alistair (19 March 2011). “Niall Ferguson: My family values”. The Guardian (Guardian News and Media).
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b c Niall Ferguson, Senior Fellow Hoover Institution, 30 November 2011
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Robert Boynton Thinking the Unthinkable: A profile of Niall Ferguson The New Yorker, 12 April 1999
  15. Jump up^ Dissertation Abstracts International: The Humanities and Social sciences 53. University Microfilms. 1993. p. 3318.
  16. Jump up^ “LSE IDEAS appoints Professor Niall Ferguson to chair in international history”. London School of Economics. 25 March 2009. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 17 June2012. Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs, for 2010–2011
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g William Skidelsky (20 February 2011). “Niall Ferguson: ‘Westerners don’t understand how vulnerable freedom is'”. The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  18. Jump up^ Higgins, Charlotte (31 May 2010). “Empire strikes back: rightwing historian to get curriculum role”. guardian.co.uk (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  19. Jump up^ Cook, Chris (5 June 2011). “Star professors set up humanities college”. Financial Times. Retrieved 17 June 2012.(registration required)
  20. Jump up^ Benjamin Wallace-Wells Right Man’s Burden Washington Monthly, June 204
  21. Jump up^ “The Last Empire, for Now”. New York Times. 25 July 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  22. Jump up^ Globalisation, democracy and terrorism, Eric Hobsbawm (Abacus 2008)
  23. Jump up^ Start the Week BBC Radio 4, 12 June 2006
  24. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall (7 November 2006). “Book World Live”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  25. Jump up^ “Meet The Hedge Fund Historian”. Forbes.com. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  26. Jump up^ “GLG Company Description”. Retrieved 20 December2008.[dead link]
  27. Jump up^ Tryhorn, Chris (23 October 2007). “Niall Ferguson joins FT”.MediaGuardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  28. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Niall Ferguson: Biography”. Retrieved 14 July 2008.[dead link]
  29. Jump up^ “The End of Europe?”. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 4 March 2004.
  30. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall (1 May 2005). “Look back at Weimar – and start to worry about Russia”. The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  31. Jump up^ Porter, Andrew (April 2003). “Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World”. Reviews in History. Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  32. Jump up^ Wilson, Jon (8 February 2003). “False and dangerous: Revisionist TV history of Britain’s empire is an attempt to justify the new imperial order”. guardian.co.uk (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved17 February 2011.
  33. Jump up^ Waslekar, Sundeep (July 2006). “A Review of: Colossus by Prof Niall Ferguson”. StrategicForesight.com. Strategic Foresight Group. Retrieved 17 February 2011.[dead link]
  34. Jump up^ Roberts, Adam (14 May 2004). “Colossus by Niall Ferguson: An empire in deep denial”. The Independent. Retrieved 17 February2011.
  35. Jump up^ “100 Notable Books of the Year”. The New York Times. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  36. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall. “Empire and globalisation”. Channel 4. Retrieved14 July 2008.[dead link]
  37. ^ Jump up to:a b “The War of the World”. Channel 4. Retrieved 14 July2008.[dead link]
  38. Jump up^ McRae, Hamish (31 October 2008). “The Ascent of Money, By Niall Ferguson”. The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  39. Jump up^ http://belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu/publication/18873/spotlight.html?breadcrumb=%2Fexperts%2F946%2Fsasha_talcott%3Fback_url%3D%252Fpublication%252F18738%252Fharvard_kennedy_schools_john_p_holdren_named_obamas_science_advisor%26back_text%3DBack%2520to%2520publication%26page%3D3
  40. Jump up^ “Civilization: Is the West History?”. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  41. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 460–461
  42. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 154–156
  43. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 27–30
  44. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 52–55
  45. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 68–76
  46. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 87–101 & 118–125
  47. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 168–173
  48. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 197–205
  49. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 239–247
  50. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 267–277
  51. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 310–317
  52. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 336–338
  53. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 357–366
  54. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 380–388
  55. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 412–431
  56. ^ Jump up to:a b Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War, Basic Books: New York, 1998, 1999 pages 168–173 & 460–461
  57. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall (1999). The House of Rothschild: Money’s Prophets, 1798–1848. Volume 1. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024084-5.
  58. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall (2000). The House of Rothschild: The World’s Banker 1849–1998. Volume 2. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028662-4.
  59. Jump up^ Kreisler, Harry (3 November 2003). “Conversation with Niall Ferguson: Being a Historian”. Conversations with History. Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  60. Jump up^ Malcolm, Noel (13 March 2011). “Civilisation: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson: review”. The Daily Telegraph. The patient testing of evidence must give way to startling statistics, gripping anecdotes and snappy phrase-making. Niall Ferguson is never unintelligent and certainly never dull. Students may find this an intriguing introduction to a wide range of human history; but they will get an odd idea of how historical argument is to be conducted, if they learn it from this book
  61. Jump up^ Hagan, Joe (27 November 2006). “The Once and Future Kissinger”. New York Magazine. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  62. Jump up^ “Letters: The British empire and deaths in Kenya”. The Guardian. 16 June 2010.
  63. ^ Jump up to:a b Tell me where I’m wrong London Review of Books, 19 May 2005
  64. Jump up^ Mishra, Pankaj (3 November 2011). “Watch this man (review of ‘Civilisation’ by Niall Ferguson)”. London Review of Books 33 (21): 10–12. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  65. Jump up^ Beaumont, Peter (26 November 2011). “Niall Ferguson threatens to sue over accusation of racism”. The Guardian. Retrieved4 September 2012.
  66. Jump up^ Niall Ferguson The way we live now: 4-4-04; Eurabia? New York Times, 4 April 2004
  67. Jump up^ Niall Ferguson The end of Europe?[dead link] American Enterprise Institute Bradley Lecture, 1 March 2004
  68. Jump up^ Carr, M. (2006). “You are now entering Eurabia”. Race & Class 48: 1–0. doi:10.1177/0306396806066636. edit
  69. Jump up^ “Top News Today | New age of U.S. prosperity? | Home | cnn.com”. Home.topnewstoday.org. 23 November 2012. Retrieved15 September 2013.
  70. Jump up^ http://www.bilderbergmeetings.org/participants2012.html
  71. Jump up^ Joe Weisenthal (6 May 2013). “Niall Ferguson’s Horrible Track Record On Economics”. Business Insider. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  72. Jump up^ Paul Krugman (2 May 2009). “Liquidity preference, loanable funds, and Niall Ferguson (wonkish)”. New York times.
  73. Jump up^ Paul Krugman (22 May 2009). “Gratuitous ignorance”. New York Times.
  74. Jump up^ The Conscience of a Liberal
  75. Jump up^ Paul Krugman (17 August 2009). “Black cats”. New York Times.
  76. Jump up^ Portes, Jonathan (25 June 2012). “Macroeconomics: what is it good for? [a response to Diane Coyle]”. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  77. Jump up^ Kavoussi, Bonnie. “Paul Krugman Bashes Niall Ferguson’s Newsweek Cover Story As ‘Unethical'”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved28 August 2012.
  78. Jump up^ Ferguson, Niall. “Ferguson’s Newsweek Cover Rebuttal: Paul Krugman Is Wrong”. The Daily Beast. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  79. Jump up^ O’Brien, Matthew. “The Age of Niallism: Ferguson and the Post-Fact World”. The Atlantic. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  80. Jump up^ Niall Ferguson, Krugtron the Invincible, Part 1, Krugtron the Invincible, Part 2, Krugtron the Invincible, Part 3
  81. Jump up^ Noah Smith, KrugTron the Invincible
  82. Jump up^ Paul Harris (4 May 2013): Niall Ferguson apologises for remarks about ‘gay and childless’ Keynes The Guardian, retrieved 7 May 2013
  83. Jump up^ Blodget, Henry. “Harvard’s Niall Ferguson Blamed Keynes’ Economic Philosophy On His Being Childless And Gay”.
  84. Jump up^ Kostigen, Tom. “Harvard Professor Trashes Keynes For Homosexuality”.
  85. Jump up^ Harris, Paul (4 May 2012). “Niall Ferguson apologises for remarks about ‘gay and childless’ Keynes”. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 5 May2013.
  86. Jump up^ Niall Ferguson (5 May 2013): An Unqualified Apology Homesite, retrieved 7 May 2013
  87. Jump up^ Lynn, Matthew (23 August 2009). “Professor Paul Krugman at war with Niall Ferguson over inflation”. Times Online. Retrieved25 October 2009.(subscription required)
  88. Jump up^ Gray, Sadie (14 February 2010). “PROFILE: Niall Ferguson”.Times Online.(subscription required)
  89. Jump up^ Hale, Beth (8 February 2010). “The historian, his wife and a mistress living under a fatwa”. Mail Online (Associated Newspapers).
  90. Jump up^ “Niall Ferguson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali”. The Independent. 25 February 2010.
  91. Jump up^ Eden, Richard (18 December 2011). “Henry Kissinger watches historian Niall Ferguson marry Ayaan Hirsi Ali under a fatwa”. The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  92. Jump up^ Numann, Jessica (30 December 2011). “Ayaan Hirsi Ali (42) bevalt van een zoon”. Elsevier. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  93. Jump up^ “Ayaan Hirsi Ali gives birth to baby boy”. DutchNews.nl (online magazine). 30 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  94. Jump up^ “Ayaan Hirsi Ali is bevallen van zoon Thomas”. Volkskrant. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  95. Jump up^ “Brad DeLong : Keynesian Economics: The Gay Science?”. Delong.typepad.com. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  96. Jump up^ “BBC News — Historian Niall Ferguson named 2012 BBC Reith Lecturer”. Bbc.co.uk. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  97. Jump up^ Niall, Prof (17 June 2012). “BBC News — Viewpoint: Why the young should welcome austerity”. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  98. Jump up^ BBC Radio 4 – The Reith Lectures
  99. Jump up^ BBC – Podcasts and Downloads – Reith Lectures

General references

External links

 

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Government Spending Is The Problem and The Interest on The National Debt Will Stop It As Will Stopping The Spending — Videos

Posted on October 20, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

niall-ferguson

“For the fiscal position of the federal government is in fact much worse today than is commonly realized. As anyone can see who reads the most recent long-term budget outlook—published last month by the Congressional Budget Office, and almost entirely ignored by the media—the question is not if the United States will default but when and on which of its rapidly spiraling liabilities.”

~Niall Ferguson

National Debt Tops $17 Trillion As DC Punts On Spending Cuts

Niall Ferguson: “The “age of debt” has come to an end.”

Niall Ferguson – The $1 8 Trillion Tax You’ve Never Heard Of

Niall Ferguson It’s the Stupid Economy

Niall Ferguson at Charlie Rose 2011

Niall Ferguson Says 100% Certain Greece Will Default

Sequester Cuts Actually Helping, Not Hurting Our Economy

U.S. National Debt and Tax Policies: The Future of American Fiscal Policy (2013)

Niall Ferguson to Paul Krugman: You’re Still Wrong About Government Spending

Niall Ferguson: The Shutdown Is a Sideshow. Debt Is the Threat

An entitlement-driven disaster looms for America, yet Washington persists with its game of Russian roulette.

 

In the words of a veteran investor, watching the U.S. bond market today is like sitting in a packed theater and smelling smoke. You look around for signs of other nervous sniffers. But everyone else seems oblivious.

Yes, the federal government shut down this week. Yes, we are just two weeks away from the point when the Treasury secretary says he will run out of cash if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. Yes, bond king Bill Gross has been on TV warning that a default by the government would be “catastrophic.” Yet the yield on a 10-year Treasury note has fallen slightly over the past month (though short-term T-bill rates ticked up this week).

Part of the reason people aren’t rushing for the exits is that the comedy they are watching is so horribly fascinating. In his vain attempt to stop the Senate striking out the defunding of ObamaCare from the last version of the continuing resolution, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz managed to quote Doctor Seuss while re-enacting a scene from the classic movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Meanwhile, President Obama has become the Hamlet of the West Wing: One minute he’s for bombing Syria, the next he’s not; one minute Larry Summers will succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, the next he won’t; one minute the president is jetting off to Asia, the next he’s not. To be in charge, or not to be in charge: that is indeed the question.

According to conventional wisdom, the key to what is going on is a Republican Party increasingly at the mercy of the tea party. I agree that it was politically inept to seek to block ObamaCare by these means. This is not the way to win back the White House and Senate. But responsibility also lies with the president, who has consistently failed to understand that a key function of the head of the executive branch is to twist the arms of legislators on both sides. It was not the tea party that shot down Mr. Summers’s nomination as Fed chairman; it was Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the new face of the American left.

Yet, entertaining as all this political drama may seem, the theater itself is indeed burning. For the fiscal position of the federal government is in fact much worse today than is commonly realized. As anyone can see who reads the most recent long-term budget outlook—published last month by the Congressional Budget Office, and almost entirely ignored by the media—the question is not if the United States will default but when and on which of its rapidly spiraling liabilities.

True, the federal deficit has fallen to about 4% of GDP this year from its 10% peak in 2009. The bad news is that, even as discretionary expenditure has been slashed, spending on entitlements has continued to rise—and will rise inexorably in the coming years, driving the deficit back up above 6% by 2038.

A very striking feature of the latest CBO report is how much worse it is than last year’s. A year ago, the CBO’s extended baseline series for the federal debt in public hands projected a figure of 52% of GDP by 2038. That figure has very nearly doubled to 100%. A year ago the debt was supposed to glide down to zero by the 2070s. This year’s long-run projection for 2076 is above 200%. In this devastating reassessment, a crucial role is played here by the more realistic growth assumptions used this year.

As the CBO noted last month in its 2013 “Long-Term Budget Outlook,” echoing the work of Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff : “The increase in debt relative to the size of the economy, combined with an increase in marginal tax rates (the rates that would apply to an additional dollar of income), would reduce output and raise interest rates relative to the benchmark economic projections that CBO used in producing the extended baseline. Those economic differences would lead to lower federal revenues and higher interest payments. . . .

“At some point, investors would begin to doubt the government’s willingness or ability to pay U.S. debt obligations, making it more difficult or more expensive for the government to borrow money. Moreover, even before that point was reached, the high and rising amount of debt that CBO projects under the extended baseline would have significant negative consequences for both the economy and the federal budget.”

Just how negative becomes clear when one considers the full range of scenarios offered by CBO for the period from now until 2038. Only in three of 13 scenarios—two of which imagine politically highly unlikely spending cuts or tax hikes—does the debt shrink from its current level of 73% of GDP. In all the others it increases to between 77% and 190% of GDP. It should be noted that this last figure can reasonably be considered among the more likely of the scenarios, since it combines the alternative fiscal scenario, in which politicians in Washington behave as they have done in the past, raising spending more than taxation.

Only a fantasist can seriously believe “this is not a crisis.” The fiscal arithmetic of excessive federal borrowing is nasty even when relatively optimistic assumptions are made about growth and interest rates. Currently, net interest payments on the federal debt are around 8% of revenues. But under the CBO’s extended baseline scenario, that share could rise to 20% by 2026, 30% by 2049, and 40% by 2072. By 2088, the last date for which the CBO now offers projections, interest payments would—absent any changes in current policy—absorb just under half of all tax revenues. That is another way of saying that policy is unsustainable.

The question is what on earth can be done to prevent the debt explosion. The CBO has a clear answer: “[B]ringing debt back down to 39 percent of GDP in 2038—as it was at the end of 2008—would require a combination of increases in revenues and cuts in noninterest spending (relative to current law) totaling 2 percent of GDP for the next 25 years. . . .

“If those changes came entirely from revenues, they would represent an increase of 11 percent relative to the amount of revenues projected for the 2014-2038 period; if the changes came entirely from spending, they would represent a cut of 10½ percent in noninterest spending from the amount projected for that period.”

Anyone watching this week’s political shenanigans in Washington will grasp at once the tiny probability of tax hikes or spending cuts on this scale.

It should now be clear that what we are watching in Washington is not a comedy but a game of Russian roulette with the federal government’s creditworthiness. So long as the Federal Reserve continues with the policies of near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing, the gun will likely continue to fire blanks. After all, Fed purchases of Treasurys, if continued at their current level until the end of the year, will account for three quarters of new government borrowing.

But the mere prospect of a taper, beginning in late May, was already enough to raise long-term interest rates by more than 100 basis points. Fact (according to data in the latest “Economic Report of the President”): More than half the federal debt in public hands is held by foreigners. Fact: Just under a third of the debt has a maturity of less than a year.

Hey, does anyone else smell something burning?

Correction: Net interest payments on the federal debt are about 8% of revenues. The Oct. 5 op-ed “The Shutdown Is a Sideshow. Debt Is the Threat” misstated the payments as a percentage of GDP.

Mr. Ferguson’s latest book is “The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die” (Penguin Press, 2013).

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304906704579113661593684356

 

Niall Ferguson Gets It Backwards, The Budget Deficit ‘Threat’ Is An Opportunity

John Tamny,

 

Back in 2008 in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential elections, John Stewart’s Comedy Channel show did a feature on John McCain going back to 1980. Each year offered a video clip of the Arizona Senator warning of a looming fiscal crisis related to the nation’s budget deficit.

Though one would be foolish to use The Daily Show as an economics lesson, the underlying point of the McCain segment was valid. Politicians, economists and mere members of the U.S. citizenry have been predicting deficit doom for as long as this writer’s been sentient, and probably even as long McCain’s been kicking.

All of which brings us to a recent Wall Street Journal Op-ed by British historian extraordinaire, Niall Ferguson. Though he seems to admit to joining an echo chamber that’s rather long in the tooth, Ferguson is the latest, and surely not the last to, in his own words, yell that the fiscal “theater is indeed burning.”  At this point we could fill several Rose Bowls with prominent individuals who’ve made the same argument. As he wrote last Saturday:

“For the fiscal position of the federal government is in fact much worse today than is commonly realized. As anyone can see who reads the most recent long-term budget outlook—published last month by the Congressional Budget Office, and almost entirely ignored by the media—the question is not if the United States will default but when and on which of its rapidly spiraling liabilities.”

This is in no way meant to dismiss Ferguson’s basic point. Maybe the horrid deficit tomorrow that never seems to come is on our doorstep, but at least for now it should be said that the television version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf made for modern consumption would star an angry adult male predicting deficit doom. Or maybe this is much ado about nothing. Better yet, maybe the proper way to look at the deficit question is to cease all the doom and gloom, and view the deficit as an opportunity.

For one, assuming we reach the point that all the deficit worriers talk about whereby the U.S. budget is consumed by interest payments, let’s look at the positives. Figure if Congressional appropriations are reduced to interest payments, it will be much more difficult for the fiscally incontinent members of both political parties to dream up new ways to waste our money.

Taking the debt discussion local for a moment, California has long been fingered by the same deficit-fearing crowd as a likely default prospect, but if so, does anyone think Apple AAPL +0.87%, Google GOOG +13.8%, and Intel INTC -0.19% will suffer higher rates for debt finance alongside the profligate State of California if the latter defaults?

Applied nationally, assuming Treasury goes explicit in its default in the way it’s long been implicit (the dollar that Treasuries pay out bought 1/35th of an ounce of gold in 1971, yet today it buys roughly 1/1300th) in its stiffing of creditors, is it really a certainty that Armageddon awaits as Ferguson presumes? Or is it more likely that investors, burned by Treasury, will migrate away from U.S. debt, along with government debt more broadly?

If so, never explained by the doomsayers is why this would be so bad. Creditors and investors won’t just sit on their money, rather they’ll find better, more hospitable places to put their capital to work. Assuming they charge Treasury 10% for 30-year debt, does anyone think Coca-Cola KO +0.6% will see its debt finance costs rise to a similar level?

If readers assume yes, that market panic would drive rates well beyond the aforementioned number, that too wouldn’t be a forever concept. High prices by virtue of being high naturally beget lower prices down the line as the high rates of interest lure profit-focused investors into the arena. Needless to say, whether investors simply tire of lending to Treasury such that they jack up rates, or if they raise rates in response to an actual default, financial capital won’t sit idle forever. Eventually investors will find new, and infinitely more productive places to deploy their funds. At risk of sounding too ‘tea party-ish’ given Ferguson’s not-so-veiled contempt for the movement, it’s not a reach to suggest that Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, FedEx’s Fred Smith, and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett are much better allocators of capital than are John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.

Of course to highly influential people like Ferguson, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Fed Chairman Bernanke, default is the unthinkable, and would surely lead to the ‘Mother of All Great Depressions’ as interest rates skyrocket amid panic in the markets, and also in the street. Fair enough, but also wholly unproven. Lest we forget, it was the same crowd, or a reasonable facsimile (Bernanke at least), who told us that a failure to save Citigroup (bailed out five times in 22 years by the Fed) would lead to a decades-long recession.  Yes, in Bernanke’s world the capitalist system can only sustain itself if we run away from capitalism with lightning speed in order to prop up that which the markets don’t want.  Oh well, at the very least consider where all of this default/crisis talk is coming from.

Importantly, there’s another option that’s not talked of enough as a path out of a deficit ‘crisis’ that they regularly warn us about. How about economic growth? It’s really that simple, and if the political class had a clue about how economies grow (they don’t, but too many of us blindly accept their warnings about bank failures, default, global contraction as though they do), they might turn all the deficit worrying to their advantage.

Simply put, economic growth is easy. Taxes are a penalty placed on work and investment, so reduce the penalty on both to get more of both. Regulations don’t work (see the banks overseen by the Fed, SEC and the rest), but they do inhibit the profit motive for distracting executives who should be focused on the shareholder, and by extension, the customer. Trade is why we get up for work each day so that we can exchange our surplus for that of others, so when barriers to trade are put up, we foster inefficiency all the while taxing the purpose of work. Money is how we measure the value of the goods we exchange, and the investments we enter into, so stabilize its value. Notable with money is that in his masterful book, The Cash Nexus, Ferguson wrote of ‘forever’ British debt instruments that forever paid out low rates of interest precisely because the Pound had a stable definition in terms of gold.

To make basic what already is, growing countries never have to worry about deficits simply because their debt is so attractive. Greece isn’t suffering a debt crisis because it owes too much money, rather it’s in trouble because its even more hapless political class doesn’t understand that its debt problems would disappear if it adopted growth policies like the ones listed above. As Forbes contributor Louis Woodhill has pointed out regularly, interest rates on Greek debt became even more onerous once its politicians raised taxes to ‘fix’ the problem. What they missed is that the deficit problem was one of too little growth. It’s much the same here.

In short, rather than worry about a debt ‘threat’ that never seems to materialize, we should view the deficit as an opportunity to implement policies that always work, and that may even turn people like John McCain into optimists. If so, we can then get serious about the real economic problem which is the size of government itself. The raging fire in the theater of the latter is largely smoke free, but it represents all the future Microsofts and Intels, cancer and heart disease cures, and transportation innovations that have never revealed themselves thanks to our wasteful political class consuming so much of our capital. Government spending is what Ferguson et al might focus on if they weren’t so blinded by the ‘horrific’ deficit problems of tomorrow that never seem to come, and that wouldn’t matter much even if they did.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2013/10/10/niall-ferguson-gets-it-backwards-the-budget-deficit-threat-is-an-opportunity/

 

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Niall Ferguson–The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World–Videos

Posted on October 28, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, European History, history, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Regulations, Video, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World

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Niall Ferguson–Obama’s Gotta Go–Videos

Posted on August 23, 2012. Filed under: Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Enivornment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Medicine, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Science, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Ferguson – Hit the Road Barack

Why does Paul Ryan scare the president so much? Because Obama has broken his promises, and it’s clear that the GOP ticket’s path to prosperity is our only hope.

I was a good loser four years ago. “In the grand scheme of history,” I wrote the day after Barack Obama’s election as president, “four decades is not an especially long time. Yet in that brief period America has gone from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to the apotheosis of Barack Obama. You would not be human if you failed to acknowledge this as a cause for great rejoicing.”

Despite having been—full disclosure—an adviser to John McCain, I acknowledged his opponent’s remarkable qualities: his soaring oratory, his cool, hard-to-ruffle temperament, and his near faultless campaign organization.

Yet the question confronting the country nearly four years later is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises. And the sad truth is that he has not.

In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.

In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak. Meanwhile, since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways unemployment is being concealed.

In his fiscal year 2010 budget—the first he presented—the president envisaged growth of 3.2 percent in 2010, 4.0 percent in 2011, 4.6 percent in 2012. The actual numbers were 2.4 percent in 2010 and 1.8 percent in 2011; few forecasters now expect it to be much above 2.3 percent this year.

Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps.

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

And all this despite a far bigger hike in the federal debt than we were promised. According to the 2010 budget, the debt in public hands was supposed to fall in relation to GDP from 67 percent in 2010 to less than 66 percent this year. If only. By the end of this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will reach 70 percent of GDP. These figures significantly understate the debt problem, however. The ratio that matters is debt to revenue. That number has leapt upward from 165 percent in 2008 to 262 percent this year, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. Among developed economies, only Ireland and Spain have seen a bigger deterioration.

Not only did the initial fiscal stimulus fade after the sugar rush of 2009, but the president has done absolutely nothing to close the long-term gap between spending and revenue.

His much-vaunted health-care reform will not prevent spending on health programs growing from more than 5 percent of GDP today to almost 10 percent in 2037. Add the projected increase in the costs of Social Security and you are looking at a total bill of 16 percent of GDP 25 years from now. That is only slightly less than the average cost of all federal programs and activities, apart from net interest payments, over the past 40 years. Under this president’s policies, the debt is on course to approach 200 percent of GDP in 2037—a mountain of debt that is bound to reduce growth even further.

And even that figure understates the real debt burden. The most recent estimate for the difference between the net present value of federal government liabilities and the net present value of future federal revenues—what economist Larry Kotlikoff calls the true “fiscal gap”—is $222 trillion.

The president’s supporters will, of course, say that the poor performance of the economy can’t be blamed on him. They would rather finger his predecessor, or the economists he picked to advise him, or Wall Street, or Europe—anyone but the man in the White House.

There’s some truth in this. It was pretty hard to foresee what was going to happen to the economy in the years after 2008. Yet surely we can legitimately blame the president for the political mistakes of the past four years. After all, it’s the president’s job to run the executive branch effectively—to lead the nation. And here is where his failure has been greatest.

On paper it looked like an economics dream team: Larry Summers, Christina Romer, and Austan Goolsbee, not to mention Peter Orszag, Tim Geithner, and Paul Volcker. The inside story, however, is that the president was wholly unable to manage the mighty brains—and egos—he had assembled to advise him.

According to Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men, Summers told Orszag over dinner in May 2009: “You know, Peter, we’re really home alone … I mean it. We’re home alone. There’s no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes [of indecisiveness on key economic issues].” On issue after issue, according to Suskind, Summers overruled the president. “You can’t just march in and make that argument and then have him make a decision,” Summers told Orszag, “because he doesn’t know what he’s deciding.” (I have heard similar things said off the record by key participants in the president’s interminable “seminar” on Afghanistan policy.)

This problem extended beyond the White House. After the imperial presidency of the Bush era, there was something more like parliamentary government in the first two years of Obama’s administration. The president proposed; Congress disposed. It was Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts who wrote the stimulus bill and made sure it was stuffed full of political pork. And it was the Democrats in Congress—led by Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank—who devised the 2,319-page Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank, for short), a near-perfect example of excessive complexity in regulation. The act requires that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies, and issue 22 periodic reports. It eliminates one regulator and creates two new ones.

It is five years since the financial crisis began, but the central problems—excessive financial concentration and excessive financial leverage—have not been addressed.

Today a mere 10 too-big-to-fail financial institutions are responsible for three quarters of total financial assets under management in the United States. Yet the country’s largest banks are at least $50 billion short of meeting new capital requirements under the new “Basel III” accords governing bank capital adequacy.

And then there was health care. No one seriously doubts that the U.S. system needed to be reformed. But the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 did nothing to address the core defects of the system: the long-run explosion of Medicare costs as the baby boomers retire, the “fee for service” model that drives health-care inflation, the link from employment to insurance that explains why so many Americans lack coverage, and the excessive costs of the liability insurance that our doctors need to protect them from our lawyers.

Ironically, the core Obamacare concept of the “individual mandate” (requiring all Americans to buy insurance or face a fine) was something the president himself had opposed when vying with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. A much more accurate term would be “Pelosicare,” since it was she who really forced the bill through Congress.

Pelosicare was not only a political disaster. Polls consistently showed that only a minority of the public liked the ACA, and it was the main reason why Republicans regained control of the House in 2010. It was also another fiscal snafu. The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.

The president just kept ducking the fiscal issue. Having set up a bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, headed by retired Wyoming Republican senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, Obama effectively sidelined its recommendations of approximately $3 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in added revenues over the coming decade. As a result there was no “grand bargain” with the House Republicans—which means that, barring some miracle, the country will hit a fiscal cliff on Jan. 1 as the Bush tax cuts expire and the first of $1.2 trillion of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts are imposed. The CBO estimates the net effect could be a 4 percent reduction in output.

The failures of leadership on economic and fiscal policy over the past four years have had geopolitical consequences. The World Bank expects the U.S. to grow by just 2 percent in 2012. China will grow four times faster than that; India three times faster. By 2017, the International Monetary Fund predicts, the GDP of China will overtake that of the United States.

Meanwhile, the fiscal train wreck has already initiated a process of steep cuts in the defense budget, at a time when it is very far from clear that the world has become a safer place—least of all in the Middle East.

For me the president’s greatest failure has been not to think through the implications of these challenges to American power. Far from developing a coherent strategy, he believed—perhaps encouraged by the premature award of the Nobel Peace Prize—that all he needed to do was to make touchy-feely speeches around the world explaining to foreigners that he was not George W. Bush.

In Tokyo in November 2009, the president gave his boilerplate hug-a-foreigner speech: “In an interconnected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another … The United States does not seek to contain China … On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.” Yet by fall 2011, this approach had been jettisoned in favor of a “pivot” back to the Pacific, including risible deployments of troops to Australia and Singapore. From the vantage point of Beijing, neither approach had credibility.

His Cairo speech of June 4, 2009, was an especially clumsy bid to ingratiate himself on what proved to be the eve of a regional revolution. “I’m also proud to carry with me,” he told Egyptians, “a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalamu alaikum … I’ve come here … to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based … upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

Believing it was his role to repudiate neoconservatism, Obama completely missed the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy—precisely the wave the neocons had hoped to trigger with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. When revolution broke out—first in Iran, then in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria—the president faced stark alternatives. He could try to catch the wave by lending his support to the youthful revolutionaries and trying to ride it in a direction advantageous to American interests. Or he could do nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail.

In the case of Iran he did nothing, and the thugs of the Islamic Republic ruthlessly crushed the demonstrations. Ditto Syria. In Libya he was cajoled into intervening. In Egypt he tried to have it both ways, exhorting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave, then drawing back and recommending an “orderly transition.” The result was a foreign-policy debacle. Not only were Egypt’s elites appalled by what seemed to them a betrayal, but the victors—the Muslim Brotherhood—had nothing to be grateful for. America’s closest Middle Eastern allies—Israel and the Saudis—looked on in amazement.

“This is what happens when you get caught by surprise,” an anonymous American official told The New York Times in February 2011. “We’ve had endless strategy sessions for the past two years on Mideast peace, on containing Iran. And how many of them factored in the possibility that Egypt moves from stability to turmoil? None.”

Remarkably the president polls relatively strongly on national security. Yet the public mistakes his administration’s astonishingly uninhibited use of political assassination for a coherent strategy. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, the civilian proportion of drone casualties was 16 percent last year. Ask yourself how the liberal media would have behaved if George W. Bush had used drones this way. Yet somehow it is only ever Republican secretaries of state who are accused of committing “war crimes.”

The real crime is that the assassination program destroys potentially crucial intelligence (as well as antagonizing locals) every time a drone strikes. It symbolizes the administration’s decision to abandon counterinsurgency in favor of a narrow counterterrorism. What that means in practice is the abandonment not only of Iraq but soon of Afghanistan too. Understandably, the men and women who have served there wonder what exactly their sacrifice was for, if any notion that we are nation building has been quietly dumped. Only when both countries sink back into civil war will we realize the real price of Obama’s foreign policy.

America under this president is a superpower in retreat, if not retirement. Small wonder 46 percent of Americans—and 63 percent of Chinese—believe that China already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower or eventually will.

It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president. In his notorious “you didn’t build that” speech, Obama listed what he considers the greatest achievements of big government: the Internet, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Apollo moon landing, and even (bizarrely) the creation of the middle class. Sadly, he couldn’t mention anything comparable that his administration has achieved.

Now Obama is going head-to-head with his nemesis: a politician who believes more in content than in form, more in reform than in rhetoric. In the past days much has been written about Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate. I know, like, and admire Paul Ryan. For me, the point about him is simple. He is one of only a handful of politicians in Washington who is truly sincere about addressing this country’s fiscal crisis.

Over the past few years Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” has evolved, but the essential points are clear: replace Medicare with a voucher program for those now under 55 (not current or imminent recipients), turn Medicaid and food stamps into block grants for the states, and—crucially—simplify the tax code and lower tax rates to try to inject some supply-side life back into the U.S. private sector. Ryan is not preaching austerity. He is preaching growth. And though Reagan-era veterans like David Stockman may have their doubts, they underestimate Ryan’s mastery of this subject. There is literally no one in Washington who understands the challenges of fiscal reform better.

Just as importantly, Ryan has learned that politics is the art of the possible. There are parts of his plan that he is understandably soft-pedaling right now—notably the new source of federal revenue referred to in his 2010 “Roadmap for America’s Future” as a “business consumption tax.” Stockman needs to remind himself that the real “fairy-tale budget plans” have been the ones produced by the White House since 2009.

I first met Paul Ryan in April 2010. I had been invited to a dinner in Washington where the U.S. fiscal crisis was going to be the topic of discussion. So crucial did this subject seem to me that I expected the dinner to happen in one of the city’s biggest hotel ballrooms. It was actually held in the host’s home. Three congressmen showed up—a sign of how successful the president’s fiscal version of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (about the debt) had been. Ryan blew me away. I have wanted to see him in the White House ever since.

.

It remains to be seen if the American public is ready to embrace the radical overhaul of the nation’s finances that Ryan proposes. The public mood is deeply ambivalent. The president’s approval rating is down to 49 percent. The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is at minus 28 (down from minus 13 in May). But Obama is still narrowly ahead of Romney in the polls as far as the popular vote is concerned (50.8 to 48.2) and comfortably ahead in the Electoral College. The pollsters say that Paul Ryan’s nomination is not a game changer; indeed, he is a high-risk choice for Romney because so many people feel nervous about the reforms Ryan proposes.

But one thing is clear. Ryan psychs Obama out. This has been apparent ever since the White House went on the offensive against Ryan in the spring of last year. And the reason he psychs him out is that, unlike Obama, Ryan has a plan—as opposed to a narrative—for this country.

Mitt Romney is not the best candidate for the presidency I can imagine. But he was clearly the best of the Republican contenders for the nomination. He brings to the presidency precisely the kind of experience—both in the business world and in executive office—that Barack Obama manifestly lacked four years ago. (If only Obama had worked at Bain Capital for a few years, instead of as a community organizer in Chicago, he might understand exactly why the private sector is not “doing fine” right now.) And by picking Ryan as his running mate, Romney has given the first real sign that—unlike Obama—he is a courageous leader who will not duck the challenges America faces.

The voters now face a stark choice. They can let Barack Obama’s rambling, solipsistic narrative continue until they find themselves living in some American version of Europe, with low growth, high unemployment, even higher debt—and real geopolitical decline.

Or they can opt for real change: the kind of change that will end four years of economic underperformance, stop the terrifying accumulation of debt, and reestablish a secure fiscal foundation for American national security.

I’ve said it before: it’s a choice between les États Unis and the Republic of the Battle Hymn.

I was a good loser four years ago. But this year, fired up by the rise of Ryan, I want badly to win.

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Communist China’s Undervalued Yuan/Renminbi Currency–Videos

Posted on January 19, 2011. Filed under: Banking, Blogroll, Communications, Demographics, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Taxes, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Trade War to Lose: Jim Rogers on Hu Jintao American trip

 

Mar 24 10 Hearing on China’s Exchange Rate Policy, Niall Ferguson Opening Statement

 

Chinese Currency War a Red Herring?

 

Daniel Rosen: China’s Undervalued Renminbi

 

US Says China Too Slow on Currency Reform

 

Obama Ups Pressure on Chinese Regime to Raise Yuan

 

 

China’s exchange rate reform ‘very important’ for Europe

 

Background Articles and Videos

China’s position in “Currency War” – CCTV 10100

 

Global Currency Wars Continue. IMF Proposes Compromise

 

Frankenfed Monster Amongst Us Anthony J Hilder Complete

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The Ascent of Money–Videos

Posted on June 23, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Economics, Employment, Fiscal Policy, government, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Sports, Technology, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Money Part 1

 

Money Part 2

Money Part 3

Money Part 4

Money Part 5

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Thomas E. Woods–The Market Economy–Videos

Tom Woods On Personal Rights and Property Ownership

Tom Woods–Smashing Myths and Restoring Sound Money–Videos

Tom Woods–Who Killed The Constitution

Tom Wright On The FairTax–Videos

Banking Cartel’s Public Relations Campaign Continues:Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke On The Record

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Niall Ferguson–“The Ascent of Money–Videos

Posted on June 22, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Communications, Economics, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Resources, Technology, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Conversations with History – Niall Ferguson

Background Articles and Videos

The Ascent of Money–Videos 

Harvard Prof. Niall Ferguson on Decline of America and Rise of a New Global Economic Order 1/3

Harvard Prof. Niall Ferguson on Decline of America and Rise of a New Global Economic Order 2/3

Harvard Prof. Niall Ferguson on Decline of America and Rise of a New Global Economic Order 3/3

 The Descent of Finance

 

Niall Ferguson: Don’t Trust Democrats to Fix Economy

Conversations with History – Niall Ferguson

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