Niall Ferguson

Milbank Family Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard, where he served for twelve years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of fifteen books, most recently The Square and the Tower. His previous book, Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. His many other prizes include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013). In addition to writing a weekly column for the Sunday Times (London) and the Boston Globe, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, an advisory firm. He also serves on the board of Affiliated Managers Group. His new book, The Square and the Tower, in published in the U.S. in January.

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Recent Commentary

Featured

In Our ‘Emocracy,’ Emotions Rule

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Monday, January 28, 2019

We no longer live in a democracy. We live in an emocracy — where emotions rather than majorities rule and feelings matter more than reason. The stronger your feelings — the better you are at working yourself into a fit of indignation — the more influence you have. And never use words where emojis will do.

Featured

Britain’s Having A Monty Python Moment

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

As Theresa May went from crushing defeat on Tuesday to narrow victory on Wednesday, I’m sure I was not the only one reminded of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Despite having had both his arms chopped off by King Arthur (Graham Chapman), the Black Knight (John Cleese) refuses to yield.

Niall Ferguson: Open Societies Can Overcome Network Disruptions If They Adapt

by Niall Ferguson
Monday, January 14, 2019

Online social networks are worsening political polarization in many democracies today, says Niall Ferguson, a historian and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Analysis and Commentary

Trumpman’s Winning Wall

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, January 14, 2019

As so often, “South Park” saw it coming. In “The Last of the Meheecans”— which first aired back in October 2011 — the obnoxious Cartman joins the US Border Patrol, only to find himself facing the wrong way as hordes of disillusioned Mexican workers seek to flee the economically depressed United States back to Mexico.

Featured

2018 — The Year That Went Back In Time

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, December 24, 2018

One highlight of 2018 was the story of the Dutchman who wanted an age change. Born on March 11, 1949, Emile Ratelband was perfectly content with that day and month. It was just the year he proposed to alter, from 1949 to 1969. Only now, as I look back on the year as a whole, do I realize Emile is not alone. The whole world appears to want to turn back the clock.

Analysis and Commentary

Don’t Let Brexit Take The Tory Out Of Tolkien

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, December 17, 2018

You really know your political career is in trouble when people start comparing you to Gollum. Poor Theresa May was on the wrong end of some Tolkien-inspired satire last week, when the actor Andy Serkis released a spoof video with the title “LEAKED: Footage from Inside No. 10 Downing Street!” Serkis, who played Gollum in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of “The Lord of the Rings,” had the inspired idea of combining the characters of Britain’s prime minister and Tolkien’s cadaverous, covetous, conflicted villain.

Featured

Why It’s Not As Simple As “Breaking Up Big Tech”

by Niall Fergusonvia Prospect Magazine
Friday, December 14, 2018

Is big tech too big? In the past year, interest has grown in the idea that the giants of Silicon Valley have morphed into monopolies. Tim Wu of Columbia Law School argues they should be broken up: Facebook should relinquish Instagram and WhatsApp; Google should give up YouTube and DoubleClick; Amazon should spin off Amazon Web Services. Such arguments have ceased to be the preserve of progressives. Even President Donald Trump is said to have “wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.”

Analysis and Commentary

When It Comes To Politics: Nothing Works

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, December 10, 2018

Back in the 1970s, the joke was that run-down Glasgow was Disneyland. “Aye, because this disnae work, and that disnae work. . . . ” Well, we all live in Disnaeland now.

Featured

The G-20 Dines A Lot, But It Doesn’t Make Progress

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Monday, December 3, 2018

At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the delegates danced almost as much as they negotiated. As the Prince de Ligne put it: “The Congress dances a lot, but it doesn’t make progress.” The dancing was a distraction. What mattered was that the monarchs of Europe — or, to be precise, their ministers — established a new order in Europe. After the upheavals of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s short-lived and unruly empire, five great powers combined to limit the threats posed to monarchy and aristocracy by liberalism and nationalism.

Featured

Has Trump Peaked?

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Monday, November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving is a wonderful festivity. Unlike Christmas, it has somehow eluded commercialization. The formula remains the time-honoured one: Get your family together, eat turkey, count your blessings. Asked on Thursday what he was thankful for, President Trump replied: “For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country. . . . This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”

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