"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Niall Ferguson, the Ascent of Money

Unfortunately nobody has uploaded the excellent UK Channel 4 documentary version of Niall Ferguson’s timely book about the history of money, but this conversation is a good taster. Have a look out for the series of the same name.

Running time: 1 hour.

business, interviews

11 comments on “Niall Ferguson, the Ascent of Money

  1. james says:

    not sure this is really your kind of thing, john bergers ‘ways of seeing’ but it is a classic

  2. admin says:

    Ah yes it is – I remember reading the accompanying book years ago. Thank you!

  3. S. says:

    episode 1 is available at uknova if you’re interested

  4. 1bionic1 says:

    Thank you for hosting this program. Mr. Ferguson’s book is on my wish list and I look forward to devouring it’s knowlege with zeal.

  5. Wendy Darling says:
  6. Hugh Crawford says:

    Quality material from Niall Ferguson :) who began the series by telling he came from the east end of Glasgow, and then proceeded to shoot a misleading scene in the back streets of Shettleston, always chosen by the media as the most deprived area of the city, and used to portray gratuitous scenes of poverty.

    Ferguson carefully positioned himself against a backdrop of derelict and boarded up postwar tenements, but omitted to turn the cameras around and show the at these are currently being demolished and replaced with socially affordable modern housing

    TV journalist Donal Mcintye did the same thing a few years back, taking a flat in the main street of Shettleston, and talking of gangs and knife fights on the street while the camera showed a blurry image of movement in the street through the window over his shoulder.

    Strange, those of us that actually live there can go shopping in the local Co-op (which was in the main street behind the good Donal) up to 10:00 pm at night, and rarely, if ever see any gang fights or the like.

    The media usually does the area a dis-service, and film crews generally have (and have been caught) to bribe teenagers to mis-behave for the camera – they at least know how to make a few pounds.

    Quality material indeed, or as we say here, kwality.

  7. admin says:


    Very interesting, thanks for that.

    I once worked as a runner on a documentary directed by a very earnest middle class Englishman called Mike Grigsby who wanted to show the grim reality of the effect of the Docklands development on indigenous Eastenders on the Isle of Dogs, in London. He found the perfect piece of ‘urban dereliction’ and hundreds of feet of film were shot, before someone noticed a palm tree and Vietnamese writing (unusual in the East End). We were actually filming on the remnants of the set of Full Metal Jacket.

    I used to live in Glasgow (too young to remember), but have always found it hard to register the myth with the reality. It feels a lot safer than many cities without the reputation, certainly. But the health stats there seem to be difficult to deny. I’d be interested in your take on that.

  8. Conejo says:

    Having watched most of the Niall Ferguson series currently screening on Channel 4 in the UK, I have come to the conclusion that Ferguson deserves his reputation as a right-winger. His defence of Milton Freedman was an indicator of questionable judgement given the situation that his free-marketeering has led to. His assertion that Freedman’s collusion with the Pinochet regime was justified in order to acheive strong macro-economic growth in Chile was deeply questionable.

  9. Karl Hafer says:

    I just uploaded all 6 episodes to Google Video. Part 1 is at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6190074038977271170&hl=en

  10. Hugh Crawford says:

    I wasn’t sure how to respond to the health issue, or the statistics, but I don’t deny them.

    One of the problems we have here is that there is an undeniable Scots’ trait that doesn’t like being told how to behave, so anti-smoking, anti alcohol abuse campaigns and healthy eating campaigns are derided by many, but not all, so the community still chooses to be ill in later life – or should that be early death.

    Following the locals around will lead you to believe they live on the output of the fast-food outlets they queue at, and supermarket trolleys are stacked high with ready meals rather then fresh produce. The local Co-op has less than 4 metres of fruit and veg bay. The alcohol section is over 4 times that length, and does not lose the bottom shelf to refrigeration either.

    I suspect the truth behind the health statistics lies in the industrial legacy of the east end of Glasgow. Unlike the west end, and much of the are around the city, the east end was the place where numerous coal mines, steel foundries, forges, chemical works, sand and gravel pits were established as the industrial era began. Many of these sites are gone, lost and forgotten, but the people who worked in them were poisoned by them, and worked in conditions that Health & Safety rules would not allow people to work in without personl protection. Much of the land was polluted with the spoil from these industries, dumped unchecked with no environmental protection legislation, awareness or care about the effects of pollution. Even today, housing development are either disallowed as pollution is found to be leeching from the ground, or new developments are discovered to be built on contaminated land of which there are no records. The first signs in some cases being chromium poisoning of the residents after a few years.

    In other words, I doubt the poor health statistics that the media enjoys parading whenever it decides to report on the east end of Glasgow have anything to do with current problems (other than self-inflicted bad diet and lifestyle), but are a legacy of generations living and working in unhealthy conditions not endured by the surrounding areas, affecting the families and their descendents, and by still living on top of the outfall from those industries.

    It will be interesting to see how the statistics change in the next generation, as we currently see many people moving away, and many eastern Europeans (Polish) and refugees moving in, and it will be interesting to see if this population shows a health improvement, unless they are transient, as many leave after about five years or so.

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