The Network vs. The Despot: A Conversation with Niall Ferguson

January 24th, 2018

cover.jpgThose that study history know that not only is it not static, but that it tends to go though seemingly recurring periods. We’ve seen times where freedom flourishes, times when despots seem to be the flavor du jour, times where great bursts of innovation happen and where darkness and stagnation cast a pall.

Even in our modern day we see the tension between, “I alone can fix it,” and the power of grassroots and social networks to try and bring people together in a common cause.

This idea, the individual vs. the network is, according to esteemed historical Niall Ferguson, one of the most recurring tensions throughout history. He takes us through this remarkable journey in his book The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook.

My conversation with Niall Ferguson: