The History of Bubbles

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, senior research fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the author of The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, places the current financial crisis in historical context.


Niall Ferguson

Comments [10]

Moishe from Rockland County

Leonardo, #9,
Even if it's only 99.9% accurate, it will completely enlighten you to many incredible, seemingly hidden facts that caused all of this.
It is very clear to those who are aware of the facts that our economic downturn is overwhelming the fault of far too much "big government" interference, certainly never envisioned nor desired by our founders.
Did you watch the prophetical Reagen speech, ?

Nov. 19 2008 01:16 PM
Leonardo from Queens

Moishe #8 - Can you give us specific examples where banks were 'FORCED' to give mortgages to people who could not pay? THere are no laws or regulations that state that.
There is ONLY ONE LAW that says - If you are a regulated bank taking deposits from a low income community, you MUST ALSO lend to qualified people in that community. 99% of low income people who have taken standard mortgages with legitimate banks or through community homeownership programs do NOT default.
THe Subprime mortgages were given by unregulated mafia enterprises and criminal syndicates who were bundling and passing these on - NOT because they were making money on poor people - but because they could sell these worthless mortgages to investors looking for high yield debt to invest in. The default crisis has been going on for over 2 years and it started in Very RED Republican districts in Inland California, Southwest Florida, Arizona and NEvada - NOT KNOWN FOR having token minority populations much less ghetos of poor people. These were middle class developments.

Nov. 19 2008 12:29 PM
Moishe from Rockland County

It's likely we will go into a severe depression. Only conservatives seem to realize that govt. interference into capitalism is destroying the world. We now owe around 60 trillion over the next few decades for only 2 of our infinite govt. activities, Medicare & Social Security. We didn't face that before the '29 Depression. Unless Washington reverses course & slashes the 39% corporate tax rate (China's is only 25%, for God's sake), the capital gains tax to 0, start making the 45% not paying any taxes pay, & just stop so much punishing of success & rewarding, to the tune of trillions, lack of success, Frank, Dodd, & the Justice Dept. who FORCED banks to give mortgages to people unable to afford to pay them off, we are in for a depression. Please listen to Reagen's speech of Oct. 27, 1964. This was the greatest speech ever given. He was a zillion % more aware than Obama & the Left today, a zillion times more good for the world!
PROFIT, & our ability to keep it, is what made us great. Forcing us to give more & more to prop up unending constituents holding out their hands is dooming us.

Nov. 19 2008 11:59 AM

role of media going forward, in the context of transparency?

do they deserve a govt bailout?

after all, the world's freeest economy, china, has a state run media. and that country's "economy" grows 20 percent a year.

Nov. 19 2008 11:28 AM
david from Torontoformerly of nyC

I always thought that there should be a study of the relationship between banking and art. The medici's made their money in banking and changed the western world's view of art. Today, the connection between the buyers (most often in finance) and art is everywhere.

Question? where would art be without the influence of the world's bankers

Nov. 19 2008 11:28 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

I highly recommend to any listener John Kenneth Galbraith's "Short History of Financial Euphoria" (1990. Viking Penguin edition 1993)

Galbraith also has a prescient insight on the 'predictions' of Niall Ferguson and his ilk. Ferguson is an 'intellectual' (scare quotes intentional) of our times. He says what people want to hear or at least receptive to. It takes someone like Galbraith, Warren, Said to say what people are bound to find objectionable -- indeed, bound to find objectionable in direct proportion to its truthfulness.

Nov. 19 2008 11:20 AM
Robert from NYC

That's because money lending was considered a sin by the church in the middle ages and so only Jews and other non-christians were permitted to be the money lenders or as the church would have it, usurers and of course therefore evil sinners and, well take it from there as far as ghettoizing the Jewish communities and directing hatred toward them. History explains it better than I.

Nov. 19 2008 11:16 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

Just how long ago is Niall Ferguson claiming he predicted any of the current crisis -- a year? Two years? January of 2007 -- that's not a prediction, that's an early read of what was already under way. NUMEROUS others, more progressive AND more honest than Ferguson, called it YEARS ago. Why can't Mr. Lehrer admit this.

Mr. Ferguson's is just not a prediction. Absurd.

John K. Galbraith predicted events like this over ten years ago, and he had a record of accurate predictions going back to the 1950s. Elizabeth Warren four or five years ago.

But of course, Galbraith, Warren and others like them are (were) left-liberal. When they made their predictions they were not just dismissed, they were ridiculed, or even slandered.

Nov. 19 2008 11:09 AM
O from Forest Hills

Give the guy a chance!

I want to know what historical context they have to say.

Do they take into account sending how 28 years of sending our jobs overseas, flooding the market with more immigrants illegal and legal have sent the good jobs overseas, brought too many workers into America and we have gotten rid of unions and worker protections?

Where do we go from here? We need to stop free trade and keep jobs here. We can start by raising tariffs.

Nov. 19 2008 11:06 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

I certainly don't share Mr. Lehrer's assessment of Ascent of Money. The book is already quite dated, its timing unfortunate. I can't imagine that Mr. Ferguson would not admit that he would have a markedly different take if he were writing now. (And my understanding is he did modify sections as things were changing last year.)

Moreover, given Mr. Ferguson's near-orgiastic idolization of war and empire, what reason do we have to take him as credible?

Nov. 19 2008 11:03 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.