Niall Ferguson: An Evolutionary Approach to Financial History [FORA.tv Video]

Posted: August 15, 2010 in Complexity, Finance, Economics, Money
Tags: , , , , , ,

Embedded below is a short clip from a FORA.tv video of a lecture given by Harvard economic historian & theorist Niall Ferguson.  Ferguson discusses many topics which are of interest to this blog – non-linear dynamics and complex systems in the realm of money, finance & economics.

Looking at the economy & financial markets through the lens of evolutionary processes provides valuable insights.  For example, Ferguson references Schumpeter as well as other pioneering thinkers on the intersection of the natural world / evolutionary processes and the monetary/economic/financial worlds.  Those who recognize that markets & economies are complex systems, who also understand what complex systems are and how they work, are really the only people who are even getting close to an approximation of reality.

Ferguson is a pioneering thinker, along with people like Nassim Taleb, Nate Hagens of theoildrum.com & the Institute for Integrated Economic Research, Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth, Noah Raford – PhD Candidate @ MIT, and others that I’m forgetting right now.

Here’s the clip:

Below is a list of the topics Ferguson discusses in his lecture.  (From Full Lecture Available Here):

  1. Introduction
  2. A Darwinian Economy
  3. Underlying Truth
  4. Darwin’s Economic Observation
  5. Biological and Economical Theories
  6. Modern Economics
  7. Markets as Natural Forests
  8. Concentration in Finance
  9. Abuse in the Evolutionary Process
  10. The Evolutionary Analogy
  11. Trends in the Financial Evolution
  12. Biological World vs. Financial World
  13. A Short History of Economic
  14. Inflation vs. Deflation
  15. Arrested Evolution
  16. Conclusion
Description from FORA.tv’s website:

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.


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Comments
  1. […] Embedded below is a short clip from a FORA.tv video of a lecture given by Harvard economic historian & theorist Niall Ferguson.  Ferguson discusses many topics which are of interest to this blog – non-linear dynamics and complex systems in the realm of money, finance & economics. Looking at the economy & financial markets through the lens of evolutionary processes provides valuable insights.  For example, Ferguson references Schumpete … Read More […]

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