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Tuesday, 2 June 2009, 12:00AM
Great Hall, Guildhall

The Ascent of Money: An evolutionary approach to financial history

Professor Niall Ferguson

Professor Niall Ferguson offers an evolutionary approach to financial history: he questions the impeding of 'natural selection' by keeping the financial dinosaurs alive through the life support of monetary injections: "without creative destruction, our economic system cannot be a healthy one". The view that financial history could be 'evolutionary' in fact pre-dates Darwin, born 200 years ago this year, but the view has been pushed into the hinterlands of contemporary thinking about the worlds of finance and economics. Through the publication of his book, The Ascent of Money, Professor Niall Ferguson brought about a timely re-emergence of the evolutionary approach. By looking at finance along evolutionary lines, we can relate the long run of financial history to recent events and so illuminate them in a way which will perhaps offer us a clearer sight of how we should pull ourselves out of the current economic crisis.

This was the 2009 Gresham Special Lecture. Other Gresham Special Lectures can be accessed here:
     2013 - The New Face of Europe by Sir Richard Lambert
     2012 - Parliament and the Public: Strangers or Friends? by The Rt Hon John Bercow
     2011 - Reinventing the Wheel by Sir Adam Roberts
     2010 - The Challenges of the new Supreme Court by the Rt Hon the Lord Philips
     2008 - Early Christianity and Today by the Archbishop of Canterbury
     2007 - The Beauty of Holiness and its Perils by Sir Roy Strong
     2006 - Walking the Line by Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws
     2005 - Should we trust the Scientists by Professor the Lord Winston
     2004 - Science in a complex world by Sir Martin Rees
     2002 - Towards freedom from hunger by Professor M S Swaminathan  
     2001 - Commerce and Culture in the Late 20th Century by Professor Charles Saumarez Smith  
     2000 - A Global Ethic - A Challenge for the New Millennium by Professor Hans Küng  

professor-niall-ferguson

Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He is a resident faculty member of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies.

He is also a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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2 June 2009

The Ascent of Money: An evolutionary approach to financial history
Professor Niall Ferguson

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