People I Follow: Niall Ferguson

Along my journey to improve my economic education, I have mainly been listening to American individuals like Peter Schiff and Max Keiser, but I have also stumbled onto individuals in europe who also saw and warned of the upcoming collapse, like Irish economist David McWilliams [youtube], British Conservative Party MP Daniel Hannan [youtube], and British UK Independence Party (UKIP) MP Nigel Farage [youtube]. My favourite European economist is Niall Ferguson, who is a Scottish professor that has taught in the University of Oxford, Harvard University and London School of Economics. He studied international, imperial, and economic history and did his PhD thesis on the hyperinflation of Germany in the 1920s. For more of his biography, please visit Wikipedia, Channel 4 or PBS.

The first videos I saw of him included the discussion of his books ‘Empire’ and ‘The Pity of War’, but the one that hooked me to him was the video below in which he discussed the recent financial meltdown.

I soon discovered that he turned his 2007 book ‘The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World’ into a six-part TV series airing on Channel 4 in the UK and PBS in the US [youtube, torrent]. I found the series quite enlightening as episode 1 goes through monetary history, episode 2 discusses the bond market, episode 3 goes into stock market booms and busts, episode 4 goes discusses the insurance industry, episode 5 goes through the mortgage market and the recent bundling of them for worldwide sale, and episode 6 discusses the economic marriage of China and America since the 1990s, which Niall refers to as ‘Chimerica’. PBS has the series as a four-part series, as well as having an hour live Q&A webinar with Niall in November 2009 [download]. For those who may not have the time for the over 4-hour series, PBS has created a 2-hour edition, The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts (RSA) has an 19-minute presentation as well as a 26-minute Q&A session (both seen below), and Niall does summarize the 6 topics of the series in an 8-minute summary during the webinar [13:29-21:33].

Niall Ferguson is an author numerous books including 3 books on The House of Rothschild, ‘The Pity of War: Explaining World War One’, ‘The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000’, ‘Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire’, ‘High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg’, and is now working on ‘Henry Kissinger: A Life’. In addition to The Ascent of Money becoming a TV series, Niall’s books Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World [Channel 4, youtube, torrent] (prequal to Colossus) and Civilization: The West and the Rest [Paperback, Channel 4, torrent] were also turned into six part TV series. Empire has episodes entitled Why Britain?, White Plague, The Mission, Heaven’s Breed, Maxim Force, and Empire for Sale, while Civilization has episodes entitled Competition, Science, Property, Medicine, Consumerism, and Work.

Niall Ferguson isnt an Austrian economist but has bumped heads with Keynesian economist Paul Krugman and below you can see the two of them discussing what they think the United States needed in 2010 on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS program.

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