Monday, November 24, 2008

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson must never tire. He produces books so rapidly one wonders whether he ever sleeps. Ferguson's latest book is the The Ascent of Money. According to the cover, Ferguson shows that "finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. What’s more, he reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history." I love the implication: one cannot be a real historian unless one understands finance and economics. With such a ringing endorsement of my profession I am looking forward to getting a copy. There is also this interesting interview with Ferguson regarding his new book:

PBS will be airing a series to accompany this book in January. If you want a taste of Ferguson's writing without buying one of his books, take a look at his recent article in Vanity Fair titled "Wall Street Lays Another Egg."


  1. It's easy to write books quickly if you don't mind how much you get wrong. See, for example, how Donald Markwell's book on 'John Maynard Keynes and International Relations' crisply demolishes Ferguson's silly comments on Keynes, Carl Melchior, and the reparations demands after WW1.

  2. I think he seems to make an excellent point about money supply. Maybe Im unsophisticated about economics, but our Federal Govt is creating a HUGE amount of money utilizing various programs. I realize a massive monetary contraction is underway, but do these guys really have the price increase tiger by the tail? If liquidity is so important why not send a $10,000 check to everyone in the country? Why not $100,000? Why not $1,000,000? The answer to my analogy is simple, you would have massive price rises caused by the monetary inflation. By estimates the Govt has backstopped or directly spent between 5-10 T dollars or roughly 15-30K per person in the US. Does anyone really believe this will not cause prices to eventually rise? I know a fiat currency is "elastic" but with these guys track records, do we honestly believe they will pull the money back out? If not, I would suggest you have your money in hard assets.
    LCDR Neil Colston
    Texas State 1997

  3. Ferguson was interviewed on Book TV last weekend. It appears they may be rebroadcasting it again next weekend. Or you can watch it on the website.

    What do you think about Team Obama thus far?

  4. Brian:

    I am highly pleased with Treasury, CEA, NEC, and Defense appointments. Also glad to see Gooslbee got something, but was hoping for something more than a spot on a "Economic Recovery Advisory Board." At least he is in good company with Volker chairing it.