Conversations with History: Institute
of International Studies, UC Berkeley
This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations
with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public
Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.
Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute
of International Studies. Our guest today is Niall Ferguson, who holds the John
Herzog Chair in Financial History at New York University. He is the Senior Research
Fellow of Jesus College at Oxford University, and is a visiting fellow this
fall at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He's the author,
most recently, of Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order
and the Lessons for Global Power.
- Background ... influence of parents
... reading Tolstoy ... personal touch in history
- Being a Historian ... crossing
disciplinary lines ... holistic perspective ... counterfactual history ...
"what if" Britain had stayed out of World War I ... looking at the
alternatives considered by historical actors ... reassessing historical judgments
... distinguishing knowledge of contemporaries from hindsight
- Money and Power ... becoming interested
in financial history ... causal arrows go both ways ... the "power square"
diagram ... war-making and the institutions of the modern state ... circles
- History, Theory, and Creativity
... methodological differences in the social sciences
- The State and Global Politics
... importance of globalization ... lessons of the study of the Rothschilds
... power of finance important but not absolute ... lessons and contribution
of the British Empire ... differences with U.S ... unwillingness of pre-9/11
U.S. to assume global responsibilities ... republican constitution produces
weak leaders ... American delusion about empire ... discomfort with casualties
... national debt and the welfare state
- Lessons Learned ... history and
the policy debate ... advice to students
See Niall Ferguson's website.
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