Niall Ferguson

Senior Fellow

Niall Ferguson, Hoover senior fellow, is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and a noted author.

Ferguson's books include The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective (2010), High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg (2010), and The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Penguin, 2008). His first book, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897–1927 (Cambridge University Press, 1995), was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award; the collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (Macmillan, 1997), was a best seller in the United Kingdom.

In 1998 he published, to international critical acclaim, The Pity of War: Explaining World War One (Basic Books) and The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild (Penguin). The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and was also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award. In 2001 he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700–2000 (Basic), the product of a year as Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England.

His books have been translated and published in numerous countries, including the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Taiwan.

He is a regular contributor to television and radio. In 2003 he wrote and presented six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4 n the United Kingdom. The accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (Basic), was a best seller in both Britain and the United States. He also wrote and presented the two-hour film American Colossus, broadcast in the UK in 2004.

He has just completed a six-part history of the twentieth century, The War of the World, to be broadcast in the UK in 2006.

A prolific commentator on contemporary politics, he writes and reviews regularly for the British and American press. He and his family divide their time between the United States and the United Kingdom.

He is the recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award for public service (2010).

Born in Glasgow in 1964, Niall Ferguson was awarded a Demyship (half-fellowship) for his academic achievements by Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1981 and graduated with First Class Honours in 1985. After two years as a Hanseatic Scholar in Hamburg and Berlin, he took up a research fellowship at Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1989, subsequently moving to a lectureship at Peterhouse. He taught for more than a decade at Jesus College, Oxford, and was then Herzog Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University, before moving to Harvard in 2004.

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Recent Commentary

Global Austerity
Featured Commentary

Deficits vs. Austerity: New Facts, Same Old Keynesianism

by Niall Fergusonvia The Globe and Mail
Saturday, May 23, 2015

“If the facts change,” John Maynard Keynes is supposed to have said, “I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?” It is a question his latter-day disciples should be asking themselves today. Long before this month’s general election, which the Conservatives won by a margin that stunned their critics, the facts about Britain’s economic performance had indeed changed. Yet there is still no sign of the Keynesians changing their opinions.

Featured Commentary

The Economic Consequences Of Mr. Osborne

by Niall Fergusonvia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

“If the facts change,” John Maynard Keynes is supposed to have said, “I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?” It is a question his latter-day disciples should be asking themselves now. Long before the United Kingdom’s recent general election, which the Conservatives won by a margin that stunned their critics, the facts about the country’s economic performance had indeed changed. Yet there is no sign of today’s Keynesians changing their minds.

Featured Commentary

The UK Labour Party Should Blame Keynes For Their Election Defeat

by Niall Fergusonvia Financial Times
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Credit where credit is due. Lynton Crosby is getting the plaudits for the Conservative party’s successful election strategy, but the real architect of this victory was surely George Osborne, the chancellor. In England, the Conservatives won because Mr Osborne was right and his critics were wrong.
Taylor Jones cartoon

Are We Reliving 1914?

by Niall Fergusonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

There are disturbing parallels—and heartening differences.

Featured Commentary

The ‘Divergent’ World Of 2015

by Niall Fergusonvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, January 2, 2015

Veronica Roth’s novel offers a useful way of viewing global politics and economics. Let’s hear it for Dauntless America.

Featured Commentary

The Return of Volatility Is Mainly About Monetary Policy

by Niall Fergusonvia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, October 26, 2014

This month’s wild market swings show there is no smooth exit from QE3.

Featured Commentary

Scotland’s No Echoes Europe’s Yes to Grand Coalitions

by Niall Fergusonvia Financial Times
Sunday, September 21, 2014

The union is saved. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s nationalist first minister, has resigned. All the ink spilled on the benefits and costs of an independent Scotland can be consigned to counterfactual history. The only pressing question is the significance – and consequences – of the No vote.

Featured Commentary

Scottish Referendum: Alone, Scotland Will Go Back to Being a Failed State

by Niall Fergusonvia The Telegraph
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No good deed goes unpunished. In granting residents of Scotland a referendum on their country’s political future, David Cameron surely thought he was doing a good deed. The Scottish National Party would have to put up or shut up. A Yes vote would be a victory for them.

British Flag
Featured Commentary

Scots Must Vote Nae

by Niall Fergusonvia New York Times
Sunday, September 14, 2014

GLASGOW — To most Americans, Scotland means golf, whisky and — if they go there — steady drizzle. Even to the millions of Americans whose surnames testify to their Scottish or Scotch-Irish ancestry, the idea that Scotland might be about to become an independent country is baffling.

Featured Commentary

War: In History’s Shadow

by Niall Fergusonvia Financial Times
Friday, August 1, 2014

A century has passed since the guns of August 1914 ended the era of European predominance with a deafening bang. Could such a catastrophe recur in our time?