Niall Ferguson

Milbank Family Senior Fellow

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.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Mueller And A Blue House Could Bring Down Trump

by Joshua Zoffer, Niall Fergusonvia The Atlantic
Friday, November 23, 2018

On May 17, 1973, Senator Sam Ervin Jr. opened Senate hearings into the Watergate affair. “It is the constitutional duty of this committee,” he said, to expeditiously investigate allegations that American democracy “has been subverted and its foundations shaken.” Ervin, a Democrat, did not mince words in characterizing the gravity of the accusations leveled against Richard Nixon’s campaign and administration.


The Brexit Mess Calls For A Tory Henry VIII

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Monday, November 19, 2018

“A failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis.” You might think former United Kingdom Transport Minister Jo Johnson’s parting shot at Prime Minister Theresa May stands a fair chance of attaining immortality in the British history exams of the future. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times attempted the question. “Comparisons with the 1956 Suez crisis do not get close to the mark,” he opined last week. “This is a far more significant mess than that.”


What Is To Be Done? Safeguarding Democratic Governance In The Age Of Network Platforms

by Niall Fergusonvia Governance In An Emerging New World
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Once upon a time, only the elite could network globally. David Rockefeller—the grandson of the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller—was a pioneer networker. According to a recent report, “He recorded contact information along with every meeting he had with about 100,000 people world-wide on white 3-by-5-inch index cards. He amassed about 200,000 of the cards, which filled a custom-built Rolodex machine, a 5-foot high electronic device.” 


Goodbye To All That, Again

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, November 12, 2018

To my 19-year-old son, World War I — which ended 100 years ago yesterday — is as remote an event as the Congress of Berlin was to me when I was his age. To my generation, World War I was not quite history. My father’s father, John Ferguson, had joined up at the age of 17 and fought on the Western Front as a private in the Seaforth Highlanders. He was one of more than 6 million men from Great Britain who served. Of that number, 722,785 did not come back alive. Just under half of all those who lost their lives were aged between 16 and 24 — a fact that never fails to startle.

Papers And Presentations

The 2008 Financial Crisis and the Ascent of Money

by Niall Fergusonvia Revisiting the 2008 Financial Crisis
Friday, November 9, 2018

Looking back ten years, I have been struck by two things. First, the analytical framework of The Ascent of Money served readers well. The book correctly foresaw that, bad as things already were in the summer of 2008, they were about to get a great deal worse.


The Safe Bet For This Midterm Is On The Democrats

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Monday, November 5, 2018

Unlike presidential elections, it is usually quite easy to predict who will win the midterms. Despite the role of local issues and candidates, they are in large measure referendums on the president’s job performance and, as such, perfect opportunities for Americans to display their characteristic fickleness. Having elected someone president, Americans are collectively ready to punch him on the nose after just 24 months. 


How Close Is The United States To A Civil War?

by Niall Ferguson quoting Victor Davis Hanson, Morris P. Fiorinavia Boston Globe
Monday, October 29, 2018

At the beginning of the Cold War, the artist wife of the physicist Alexander Langsdorf came up with the image of the “doomsday clock.” It appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to illustrate the fear of many physicists—including some who had been involved in the creation of the atomic bomb—that a “technology-induced catastrophe” might be terrifyingly close. Midnight on the doomsday clock meant nuclear Armageddon.


The Week Identity Politics Ate Itself

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, October 22, 2018

It was the week identity politics ate itself. It was the week we learned that US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is between 1/1,024th and 1/64th Native American Indian. It was also the week that Harvard University — universally acknowledged as a bastion of American liberalism — was taken to court for discriminating against Asian-American applicants.


Among So Many Killings Of Journalists, Why Does The Fate Of Jamal Khashoggi Stand Out?

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, October 15, 2018

There are autocrats. Look around. According to Freedom House, a quarter of the world’s states are “not free.” More than a third of the world’s population live in those states. “Undemocratic regime kills journalist” is a headline that, most of the time, vies with “Dog Bites Man” for the bottom right column of page 5.


Hacking Academia

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, October 8, 2018

Rosa Klebb is back — as a hacker. In April, the heirs of 007’s nemesis attempted to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, after the OPCW had exposed Moscow’s use of chemical weapons in an attempted assassination.