April 18, 2018

Wait Just a Minute: Niall Ferguson

In just 60 seconds, Niall Ferguson, historian and political commentator, answers questions on networks, hierarchies, and Facebook. Watch the full talk on his new book, The Square and the Tower.

What is network vs hierarchy?

There are two kinds of structure. There's a network. You all know what that is. Hierarchy is when there is somebody in charge. It's like a pyramid. And there's a top-down command structure. That's what an army is like. The Square and the Tower is about how all of history is about the interplay between networks and hierarchies.

Who makes better leaders?

Network people are terrible leaders. If you want to fight a war, get a hierarchical person to lead. Network people take all kinds of time to figure out what the consensus is, whereas hierarchy people say, this is the plan, let's do it.

Computer is to printing press as Facebook is to __________?

Nothing, because in the age of the printing press, social networks weren't designed to make money by selling your data to advertisers.

Who are you dying to debate?

I'd quite like to pick a fight with Karl Marx, because Karl Marx misled a huge number of people. And that led to hundreds of millions of deaths.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.

Archive

| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week’s Reads

Council President Ivo H. Daalder shares some recommended reads to shed important light on the global headlines this week.

| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week’s Reads

Council President Ivo H. Daalder shares some recommended reads to shed important light on the global headlines this week.

| By Simon Curtis

A Foreign Policy for Global Cities?

Nonresident senior fellow Simon Curtis examines whether political paralysis on multiple issues at the national level should drive global cities to develop and advance their own foreign policy.



| By Saeid Golkar

Iran’s Secret (Weapon) Society

While the nuclear deal has been reached, US policymakers and their allies should not overlook the power of Iran's Basij—the largest civil militia on the planet.

| By Michael Tiboris

Global Goals: Can We Do More and Better with Less?

The greatest threat to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is not likely to be the failure of the developing world, but the unwillingness of the developed world to do its part in moving toward sustainable consumption and production.



Pragmatic Perspectives from the Church

President Obama and Pope Francis discussed US immigration reform this morning at the Vatican during a nearly hour long conversation that touched on numerous social and economic issues. The Pope is compassionate for the plight of migrants, speaking out and calling attention to those who died crossing the Mediterranean from Africa when he visited the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. In the United States, leaders in the Catholic Church also have been thinking hard and clearly about immigration, as seen at a recent conference at the University of Notre Dame.