Niall Ferguson on the Rise of China

Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson shared his insights on the rise of China, China’s prospects and challenges in the years ahead.

“The discussion started with the political and economic situation in China, and the need for the Chinese government to start privatising state enterprises, reshape the country’s rule of law and globalise the renminbi. For Ferguson, the key question is whether or not Beijing will introduce reliable private property rights so that the rising middle class can feel secure.

China fears that its large dollar claims will be worth much less in the future. Besides complaining about this, they are looking for ways to diversify their wealth and revenue stream. Ferguson points out though that there are limits to their ability to secure hard assets. They also discuss China’s relationship with Russia and its role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Ferguson states that the gold flow from “the West to the Rest” is reflective of declining Western power. The world’s centre of gravity is shifting east — a shift that is going to continue, and that is taking place at an extremely fast pace when looked at in a historical context. Though China’s economic expansion could slow, Ferguson expects another 20 years of solid growth before demographic problems force the country’s economy to stall.

Finally they talk about Japan’s debt problems and the faulty design of the European currency union. Though Ferguson expects the eurozone to stay together, he expects a Japanese-style “lost decade” — and one sadly lacking in Japanese-style social harmony.”

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson is one of the world’s leading historians of the global economy and author of such internationally-acclaimed works as The Ascent of Money, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order, Lessons for Global Power, and The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West. His new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, is an international bestseller and basis for a multi-part television documentary.

Controversial, expansive, and eloquent, Ferguson has been called “the most talented British historian of his generation”. But the ambitious themes he explores in his work have urgent relevance to the present as well as the past: the costs and benefits of economic globalization; the interface between finance and politics; the lessons to be learned from the British experience of empire; and most recently, the strengths and limitation of American global power.

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