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. The networked age is turning out a lot less well than the techno-optimists foresaw. . Another Imperial College paper published in March predicted that social distancing and lockdowns could save between 30 and 40 million lives around the world this year. But there were 6,082 excess deaths in England and Wales in the week to April 3, 59% above the average for the corresponding week in the preceding five years. New research confirms that the disease doesn’t do anything much to endanger the lives and health of younger people, and if they do get infected, they get lasting immunity. The Fed is buying all of the new government debt, though by creating excess reserves for banks, not printing dollar bills. Who among today’s great economists will write The Economic Consequences of the Plague? Historically, most pandemics have come in more than one wave, and a second Covid-19 wave later in the year seems all too likely. And if the pandemic fails to recede in the second half of this year, it could shrink by another 3% in 2021. As we learn more about the excess deaths not attributed to Covid-19, we shall see that most were directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic — people in care homes who probably did have the virus, or people dying of heart attacks because they were afraid to go to hospitals — so the basic story will not change: this is no virus for old men. Second, this is the toll after social distancing and lockdowns. I am with Rogoff and Summers. From the outset, with the evidence accumulating from China and Italy that the victims of Covid-19 were disproportionately over 65, a few right-leaning politicos and pundits made the mistake of talking as if there were a crude trade-off: the economy or the elderly. The Cabinet Office correctly rated pandemics as the No 1 threat to the country, ahead of terrorism and financial crashes. . F or the centenary of the World War I, many new books were published. It doesn’t hurt that about 20% of the S&P is made up of big tech companies that may ultimately make more money as a result of the pandemic, because we’re all now strongly incentivised to do more in their virtual world than in the real one (Amazon is up 24% year-to-date). Niall Ferguson, the historian, Harvard professor, and author of more than a dozen books on the nexus of economics, finance, and geopolitics, argues that America’s abdication of … In other words, investors think it’s as bad as . In it he deplored the punitive terms of the Versailles treaty — which imposed on Germany an unspecified but potentially vast war reparations debt — and prophesied an inflationary economic disaster, followed by a political backlash. Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death series makes it clear that death in the era of plague was no respecter of rank. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He also is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. This is a disaster, the economic consequences of which cannot be offset by even the biggest monetary and fiscal splurge. (After 40 years of toil, there have been just a handful of phase 3 clinical trials, one of which made the disease worse. Certainly, the speed of recovery will be more like a tortoise’s than a hare’s. Krugman’s horns now forever will show under his dislodged faux halo. Last month, The New York Times published an article asking “Are facemasks the new condoms?” — destined to become “ubiquitous, sometimes fashionable [and] promoted with public service announcements”. In 1989, Ferguson worked as a research fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge. The key is that in the protracted “post-lockdown, pre-vaccine” period, there will inevitably be a reduction of capacity in all sectors of the economy that depend on some level of social proximity, such as retail, air travel, education, live entertainment, hotels and restaurants. Another American study concluded: “Promiscuity hit its modern peak for men born in the 1950s.” And let’s not forget the invaluable UK National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, the most recent version of which revealed a marked decline in the frequency of sex in Britain. I learnt the term SOL from a man you’ve never heard of: Robert Kadlec. Capitalism itself tends towards oligopoly. My immediate response has been: “Why do you use the word ‘after’? . The answer is that unconventional monetary policy is being used on an unprecedented scale with the principal aim of shoring up the prices of financial assets. Can it be resurrected? The Bank of England is directly financing some of that borrowing by expanding the government’s “ways and means facility”, the government’s overdraft at the bank. No. Fubar means f***** up beyond all recognition. He remained prostrate for close to a week, getting up only for meetings with the prime minister, David Lloyd George, and “a daily stroll in the Bois [de Boulogne]”. Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and managing director of Greenmantle. Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. likely to rival or exceed that of any recession in the last 150 years”, with lingering effects, potentially leading to a “global depression”. Browse the library of TED talks and speakers, 100+ collections of TED Talks, for curious minds. The pandemic, Rogoff argued, was akin to an “alien invasion”. How can we resolve this huge paradox? translators. Far from devastating the southern hemisphere, the disease proves a minor event in Africa. In a newly released interview, historian Niall Ferguson condemns what he considers a disastrously slow U.S. coronavirus response that led to widespread isolation and the economic … For most people, the word “fun” is almost synonymous with “crowd”. He has also written extensively about China’s economic rise, and even coined the term “Chimerica,” to describe the unique links between the economies of the United States and China. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Socialism had manifestly failed everywhere it had been tried by the 1980s, apparently proving Schumpeter wrong. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a … Worldwide, the IMF’s fiscal monitor puts the costs of additional health and relief measures due to the pandemic at $3.3 trillion. Yes, there have been changes in sexual behaviour. They are disproportionately old and (to a lesser extent) male. Creative disruption is rarely popular. Davos will accept him anyway. Epidemiologists and economists appear to have much in common: both like models and maths. — are impossible in the case of Covid-19 because we still know too little about it. Turning to some of today’s leading economists, I became more despondent. And if you’re gay . The amount of swaps outstanding is now $446bn (£357bn). That would be quite a different world, and more visibly so (as changes in sexual behaviour largely take place behind closed doors). That’s why we need to give at least some thought to the not-so-nice scenario of living with Covid-19 — at best, the way we live with flu, which delivers its regular seasonal bump in the mortality rate; at worst, the way we have slowly and painfully learnt to live with HIV-Aids. And SOL? Niall Ferguson undertook a public flogging of Paul Krugman. Bitcoin may go pop, but its revolution will go on, Look up: financial red lights are flashing again, The world’s new sheriff doesn’t shoot blanks, The U.S. and China Both Need Economic Rehab, Niall Ferguson: The Shutdown Is a Sideshow. On paper, the United States was ready for a pandemic — better prepared and better resourced than any country in the world. All Rights Reserved. The best had a success rate of just 30%.) 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We have only guesstimates of such crucial variables as how many people have the virus without symptoms; what the true infection fatality rate is; how long an infected person who survives has immunity; whether or not the virus will recede as spring turns to summer in the northern hemisphere; and what lasting neurological or cardiovascular damage the virus may do. “We do not consider the wider social and economic costs of suppression,” the authors noted, almost as an aside, “which will be high.”. The problem is that neither Britain nor America seems anywhere close to either, even as the political pressure mounts, especially in Republican states, for a return to work. Last month, Dan Patrick, the lieutenant-governor of Texas, who is 70, was roundly condemned when he posed the question: “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? Social mores change more than you think. True, finance ministries and central banks all over the world have done their utmost to compensate for the economic shock inflicted by the great lockdown by reviving the tools they deployed against the financial crisis in 2009-10. . According to a recent British study, sustained campaigns of public and individual education are necessary to discourage gay men from having sex without condoms. Donald Trump’s economic adviser Kevin Hassett warned last week that the unemployment rate could reach between 16% and 20% next month, the highest since the early 1930s. Niall Ferguson is an acclaimed historian and filmmaker who has chronicled war and empire, the Rothschilds and, most recently, the life of Henry A. Kissinger. That prediction was wrong after 2009 and it will be even more wrong in 2020. Almost as well prepared — on paper — was the British government. The OBR estimates that the UK’s public sector net borrowing will be £273bn this year — 14% of GDP — taking total public debt above 100% of GDP. Site by Paper Tiger. Ferguson, a Scot, is an outspoken figure who has written numerous bestselling books on history and economics including Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World and The Ascent of … No. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Sometimes it’s possible to echo Calimero without being sarcastic: “It’s an injustice, it is!”. Tag Archives: Niall Ferguson. And don’t get me started on the enduring hit to trade. I learnt a new American military abbreviation this week: SOL, to add to Snafu and Fubar. Then there was the Atlantic journalist Annie Lowrey, who wanted to persuade us that the economic burdens of the pandemic were disproportionately falling on millennials. The choice was, and remains, between excessively costly and affordable containment of the contagion until we understand it well enough to control it with vaccination and effective therapy. By contrast, cholera pandemics in the 19th century waged class war against an urban proletariat living cheek by jowl in filthy slums. Who could have foreseen that the Federal Reserve would buy even junk? Will Covid‑19 do the same? Over the past three weeks 16.8 million Americans — slightly over 10% of the workforce — have filed for unemployment benefits. Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson is a British historian relating to the fields of and economic history. Niall Ferguson’s latest book, The Square and the Tower, brilliantly anticipated the crisis that has gripped Silicon Valley since the 2016 election.To understand our modern world, he argues, you need an understanding of both network science and history. Niall Ferguson at the London School of Economics: ‘The rulers of western Africa prior to the European empires showed zero sign of developing … Among its recent purchases are junk bonds. In the US, there has never been such an upward leap in unemployment: 22 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in the past four weeks — one in eight American workers. Thanks to government action, the great lockdown has — thus far — been significantly less costly to investors in nearly every asset class than the global financial crisis, even as the real economy has suffered more. HIV-Aids? Only on March 16, with the publication of terrifying projections by the team at Imperial College London led by Neil Ferguson, did policy lurch from insouciance to panic. This was an asinine argument — on both sides. We are simultaneously a) suffering a public health disaster, with a second wave of infections and illness likely at some point when we go back to work and school; b) inflicting a deep and probably long recession on ourselves, with lockdowns that are the bluntest possible instrument for controlling contagion; and c) breaking the record for an equity market rally. The key concept is known as a Qaly — a quality-adjusted life year — and the going rate these days in the United States is between $50,000 and $150,000. In January, Niall Ferguson warned his readers to “brace yourself for a coronavirus pandemic”. But it has become apparent this year that epidemiologists don’t much care about economics. Contrasting these numbers and similar data for the US with the far lower death rates in countries that practised early detection and early response, you begin to understand what American soldiers mean by SOL. From 1990 to 1992 he was an official fellow and lecturer at Peterhouse, Cambridge. All over the world, public debt is soaring, even as poor countries come cap in hand to the IMF to have their old debts forgiven. Satisfied that his advice had been heeded, Ferguson revised down his projection of total UK deaths due to Covid-19 from more than half a million to “20,000 or less, two-thirds of which would have died this year from other causes” (in other words, a net 6,700). While Krugman seems confident deficit-funded relief measures will prop up demand, I am not so sure. His first, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927, … He then became a fellow and tutor in modern history at Jesus College, Oxford, where in 2000 he was named a professor of political and financial history. And even if there are no setbacks, it might turn out to be like influenza: you can get your flu shot each year, but there’s no guarantee you won’t get some other strain than the ones you were vaccinated against. Just over a century ago, amid the worst flu pandemic in history, the greatest economist of his generation fell ill. John Maynard Keynes was in Paris, attending the peace conference that would in time produce the Treaty of Versailles. What’s not priced in is the psychological depression that will follow when people in America and Britain go back to work without enough reliable testing or contact-tracing capacity to limit the size of the second wave. A 2017 paper showed that fewer than half of at-risk men had used a condom last time they had sex. Trump exemplifies the Ugly American. Yet the lesson of HIV-Aids is not quite that it “changed everything”. April 29, 2009 • Author Susan Jane Gilman recommends two books — Niall Ferguson's The Ascent of Money and Alan Beattie's False Economy — to help you unravel the economic … The world economy looks dead. All rights reserved. What that means, I fear, is that we may end up with the worst of both worlds: enough lockdowns to condemn us to economic depression, but not enough to avert a much higher level of mortality than we are ready for. incomplete alterations in the behaviour of both homosexual/bisexual males and intravenous drug users”, as well as “considerable instability or recidivism”. What’s not priced in is the political backlash as people see big companies getting bailed out — the airlines, notably — and the loans intended for small businesses also going to the big boys. You really have no clue what it might have been if we’d done nothing. Deaths attributed to Covid-19 were equivalent to three-quarters (74%) of the excess; 88% of Covid-19 deaths were of people older than 65; and 58% of Covid-19 victims were men. Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, managing director of Greenmantle and the author of The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power (Penguin), Easter never felt more Eastery. Wherever you look, the economic data is the worst of our lifetimes. Intellectuals are susceptible to socialism. At the 2013 Global Empowerment Meeting, Niall Ferguson attempts to make sense of the current economic situation from a historical perspective. Note that our calculations above omit the effects of lockdowns and social distancing on the demand side, including domestic consumption and investment, and the pandemic’s effect on global trade. The economic historian has been a vocal critic of early complacency in the face of uncertainty around the virus, and a supporter of countries that … Large parts of the world’s economy have been brought to an abrupt standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic. In Britain and America, the non-white population is being harder hit. An early American report noted “rapid, profound but . We expect a partial rebound of 6.5% in the third quarter, as lockdowns are partially relaxed but social distancing measures remain in place — as they must, until a vaccine is available. “It’s true that more men are dying than women from Covid-19 around the world,” wrote Ryan Heath and Renuka Rayasam in Politico, “but that’s not exactly cause for celebration.” Not exactly? We know that at least one policy goal has been achieved. And, of course, we’ve flattened those curves of confirmed cases. Yet few if any of these changes can be attributed to HIV-Aids. Without both mitigation (social distancing) and suppression (economic lockdowns), Ferguson argued, “81% of the GB and US populations would be infected over the course of the epidemic”, with “approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US”. If you are a woman, you would be appalled by the overt sexism of male conversation. Growing up in Glasgow, my friends and I liked to quote Calimero sarcastically at anyone who complained about their lot. Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. The return of “No sex, please, we’re British” mainly affects married and cohabiting couples, and, according to the definitive analysis in the BMJ, is most likely due to “the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the global recession of 2008”. But what’s not priced in is the enduring effect the pandemic will have on demand as older consumers steer clear of shopping malls and anything else involving crowds even after lockdowns end. In the face of a deadly disease, however, they also change less than you might expect. Imagine a world in which we routinely wear masks on public transport and in offices; a world in which we greet one another with a wave, not a hug or a handshake; a world in which grandparents see their grandchildren only on FaceTime; a world in which to cough or sneeze in public is as shameful as to fart; a world in which we rarely eat in restaurants or fly; a world without theatres and cinemas (other than a few retro drive-ins); and a world in which football is played in silent, empty stadiums. This will be, she said, “the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the global financial crisis”. There has been loose talk from some of the banks about a “V-shaped” recovery. According to our best estimates at my macroeconomic and geopolitical advisory firm Greenmantle, GDP has declined by even more and is currently running at 75%-82% of its level in the last quarter of last year. The number of Covid-19 deaths amounted to more than half of that excess (3,801). The global economy will shrink by 3%. “If we don’t build this,” Kadlec concluded, “we’re gonna be SOL should we ever be confronted with it.”. The choice was never between a deadly dash for “herd immunity” and the great lockdown. Why not ‘with’?”. On top of that come public sector loans and equity injections to corporations ($1.8 trillion) and guarantees and other contingent liabilities ($2.7 trillion). Since Ben Bernanke, the Fed has also done the job of shoring up the rest of the world’s financial assets, via international swap lines. Panicking people are going to save as much of those benefits as they can. The effects of these measures can be seen in the remarkable performance of corporate stocks and bonds. . Here’s a thought experiment. Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., serves on the Belfer Center Board of Directors and is a Senior Faculty Fellow at the Center. But no one should pretend that what governments are doing is “stimulus”. 0 Add to Bookmarks; From Paris to 2030: Mary Robinson . But it is by no means a 100% certainty. It may be more like the new anomie, to borrow Emile Durkheim’s term for the sense of disconnectedness. However, without adequate testing capacity, the US and the UK could not do the first; and, rather than responding early, they chose instead to dither. “The Chinese are seeking to make an example of Australia to show other Asian countries in particular, if you tangle with China politically, there will be dire economic consequences,” Mr Ferguson, who is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at … . But the Fed’s current policy would appear to be a generalised bailout of investors, even those whose positions were known to be risky. Having collapsed on May 30, 1919, he wrote to his mother: “Partly out of misery and rage for all that’s happening and partly from prolonged overwork, I gave way last Friday and took to my bed from sheer nervous exhaustion, where I have remained ever since.”. But what about the economic injustices of the pandemic? So have we made a ghastly mistake? Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, former Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and current senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and founder and managing director of advisory firm Greenmantle LLC. If all goes well, that vaccine could jump through all the scientific and regulatory hoops, go into mass production and be available some time in the second half of 2021. As I write, the S&P 500 is just 18% below its peak on February 19. It began with the relatively well-off jet set — the kind of people who fly to conferences in Singapore and then to ski chalets in the Alps. For the UK economy, the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) is predicting the worst year since 1900 — a contraction of 13%. Yes, the federal government shut down this week. The really striking feature of the history of the Aids pandemic is that behaviour only partly changed after the recognition of a new and deadly disease spread by sex, needle-sharing and blood transfusions. Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, appears on "Influencers with Andy Serwer." At a time when the world economy seems more Fubar than merely Snafu, it’s worth considering that it’s probably also SOL. Allowing for population increases, that would have made the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic more deadly than the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. In the Bible, Christ’s resurrection happens in just three days. And yet the US stock market has rallied so much since its low on March 23 that it ended last month just 14% below its pre-pandemic peak. No. Even in the best-case scenario, there will be an almighty fiscal and monetary hangover. And it is almost certain that the week to April 10 will look worse, as there were 5,353 Covid-19-related deaths in NHS hospitals that week, 88% higher than the previous week. Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and Harvard University's Center for European Studies. No medicine will cure Covid‑19’s injustices, Coronavirus: the economic legacy of lockdown, America’s power is on a financial knife edge, The gorilla effect may yet swing it for Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s crazy tariffs have outfoxed the Federal Reserve, Extract from Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money: Populists reaped the, The China I see is losing Trump’s trade war, Many unhappy returns to the financial crash of 2008, Historian Niall Ferguson on the big issues facing the world and its wealth creators. All this is possible, and devoutly to be hoped for. . The mortality rate in poor areas of England is double that in rich areas, according to the Office for National Statistics. Social mores change more than you think. Snafu, for those who haven’t watched enough war movies, stands for situation normal, all f***** up. Ministers could count on the epidemiological expertise of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). “It’s an injustice, it is!”. In the past week, I’ve had several conversations on the topic of “the world after Covid-19”. Go deeper into fascinating topics with original video series from TED. If that’s the exchange, I’m all in.” In response, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, tweeted: “My mother is not expendable. With characteristic verve and historical insight, Ferguson analyzes the causes of this stagnation and its profound consequences for the future of the West. Now he is conducting repo operations as well as swaps with foreign central banks. The American epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a key figure in the campaign to eradicate smallpox, has said for many years that the formula for dealing with an infectious disease is “Early detection, early response”. Will we one day look back and say that policymakers overreacted — that Trump and others were right all along to worry that the cure would be more costly than the disease? On paper. Moreover, the legislation would appear to make more than half of American workers better off being unemployed than they would have been working. But everyone else seems oblivious. That means shit out of luck. His expertise in particular includes bond markets, hyperinflation and the history of colonialism. For the arch-liberal Paul Krugman, this is “the economic equivalent of a medically induced coma”, but the Keynesian remedy of government borrowing can provide the necessary relief and stimulus. People die every day, of course. Your mother is not expendable. Those who expected carnage in the low-grade, or “junk”, bond market are amazed. . That may be the understatement of the year. Niall Ferguson While 2012 Reith lecturer's views are defiantly at odds with the left, his grasp of economic history is admired even by critics Photograph: Sutton-Hibbert/Rex Features “There may be a slight hangover from this borrowing,” he wrote on April 1, “but it shouldn’t pose any major problems.” (Was the date of this blog post significant?). Even so, one might have expected a bit more fear to persist. Succumbing to Aids has somewhat diminished the fear factor from $ 4.1 trillion $..., Cambridge as “ considerable instability or recidivism ” be more like a tortoise s... Am not so sure average than earlier generations “brace yourself for a pandemic”! If the market blinked, even at full employment, he cut rates sure if those projections were,... Causes of this stagnation and its profound consequences for the future of the world, more half! Of England is double that in rich areas, according to the country, ahead of terrorism financial. 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