Delve into danger
KEYNOTE // Populist tribes around the world have increasing political sway. Can this movement sustain itself? What comes next?
We are in the middle of a populist backlash against globalisation. Financial crises, growing inequality, high levels of migration and distrust in government have made fertile ground for nationalist demagogues promising a return to the good old days. But what happens next? Historically, populist economic policies have often carried the seeds of their own destruction, and strongmen are deserted by their disappointed followers when miracles do not appear. Will this be the fate of the triumphant populists of today, from Trump and Orban to the Brexiteers?
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 12 years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of 15 books, including The Pity of War, The House of Rothschild, Empire, Civilization and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. His many other prizes 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). In addition to writing a weekly column for The Sunday Times (London) and The Boston Globe, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, an advisory firm. He also serves on the board of Affiliated Managers Group. His new book, The Square and the Tower, was published in the US in January.