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.

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