Episode 117

Networks, Power, and Chaos

A Conversation with Niall Ferguson

February 18, 2018

Sam Harris speaks with Niall Ferguson about his new book The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook They discuss his career as a writer, networks and hierarchies, how history gets written, the similarity between the 16th century and the 21st, the role of social media in the 2016 Presidential election, the influence of advertising on the public sphere, Trump, the Russian investigation, Islamic extremism, counterfactuals, what would have happened if Clinton had won the presidency, immigration in Europe, conspiracy theories, capitalism, globalization, communism, wealth inequality, universal basic income, Henry Kissinger, the prospect of a US war with China, cyberwar, and other topics.

Niall Ferguson is one of the world’s most renowned historians. He is the author of Paper and IronThe House of RothschildThe Pity of WarThe Cash NexusEmpireColossusThe War of the WorldThe Ascent of MoneyHigh FinancierCivilizationThe Great DegenerationKissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, and The Square and the Tower. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012), and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).

Twitter: @nfergus