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Niall Ferguson on United States of Europe 2021

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Niall Ferguson, Professor of History at Harvard University, has written a tendentious new book, “Civilization,” which asserts, with similar certainty, that we are now living through “the end of 500 years of Western predominance,” that while China is on the rise, the question is not whether East and West will clash, but whether “the weaker” — that is, the United States and Europe — “will tip over from weakness to outright collapse.”

Indeed, the central thesis of “Civilization” is that six “killer apps” (along with “the fortuitous weakness of the West’s rivals”) enabled the West “to dominate the world for the better part of 500 years.” Those “apps” were competition, science, property rights, medicine, “the consumer society” and “the work ethic”.

The financial disasters of 2008 and its continuing fallout; political partisanship and gridlock in the face of daunting problems; divisions within the United States and within the European Union; the overextension of American military forces in the wake of costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the rise of China: Is the West headed toward a fall like ancient Rome’s? WSJ published his futuristic alternative history of the next decade for EU:

The euro is still circulating, though banknotes are now seldom seen. (Indeed, the ease of electronic payments now makes some people wonder why creating a single European currency ever seemed worth the effort.) But Brussels has been abandoned as Europe's political headquarters. Vienna has been a great success.

"There is something about the Habsburg legacy," explains the dynamic new Austrian Chancellor Marsha Radetzky. "It just seems to make multinational politics so much more fun."


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