Niall Ferguson may be an apologist for war, empire and financial bailouts, but he’s a bloody genius if there ever was one. His range of historical and economic knowledge, at least in my view, is unparalleled including every scholar to whom I agree with more. He seems to come out with a new book every year, switching off between a wide ranging book for the layperson, such as Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order, to an in depth scholarly account of a certain figure or issue, such as High Financier: The Lives and Times of Siegmund Warburg.
With five of his books, including his most recent, Civilization: The West and the Rest, he has made an accompanying six part television series. The series accompanying The Ascent of Money was selected by me as the greatest economics documentary of all time, the others are just as good.
Of the five, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire appears to be nowhere online. I found it available here for download at filestub.com, but I don’t trust sites like that at all. So download at your own risk. I personally don’t recommend it.
I’ve arranged the other four for you here. So now you have 18 hours of historical/economic/intellectual awesomeness to enjoy.
Discusses the history of the British Empire, how it shaped the world and how it eventually collapsed:
2. War of the World
Looks at the wars of the 20th century and determines they were caused by 1) empires in decline, 2) ethnic disintegration and 3) economic volatility:
Embedding disabled, go here for video.
3. The Ascent of Money
The history of finance, banking, the bond market, corporations, the stock market, insurance and all the rest of it:
4. Civilization: Is the West History?
Looks at what he calls the six “killer apps” of Western civilization: 1) competition, 2) science, 3) property, 4) medicine, 5) consumerism and 6) the work ethic and how they separated the west from “the rest.” As annoying as “killer apps” is, he makes a very good case as well as asking “what happens if the west loses its edge in these categories”:
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