Niall Ferguson: Imperial Economist

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Ben Cohen
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This profile of the British economist Niall Ferguson in the Independent is certainly worth a read. Ferguson has made a living out of excusing British and American imperialism, disguising his rather extreme views behind a veneer of charm and polished rhetoric. Ferguson has found himself on the wrong side of every argument over the past 20 years, yet still manages to peddle his brand of Western imperialism and monetarism in an intellectual culture eager to have its ego stroked.

Ferguson believes that British and American culture is inherently superior to the rest of the world's (he has written a book about it) and reducing the debt is key to economic recovery. This is standard, albeit sophisticated conservative dogma, and quite blatantly wrong.

Paul Krugman has attacked Ferguson's economic philosophy mercilessly (check out the report of his debate with Ferguson here), stating that the Harvard professor is clueless when it comes to economics.

"When it comes to
economics," writes Krugman, "He hasn’t bothered to understand the basics, relying
on
snide comments and surface cleverness to convey the impression of
wisdom.
It’s all style, no comprehension of substance."

Ferguson's brand of economics has been the orthodoxy for the past 30 years and has quite spectacularly failed. Yet Ferguson believes the exact same policies that decimated the global economy (lack of government regulation, debt reduction programs etc) will save us. They won't, yet Ferguson will continue to profit from telling the rich what they want to hear.