The West’s “Killer Apps”
Ever since Niall Ferguson was a boy, and still to this day, the Harvard historian says he has looked to the BBC’s Dr. Who as his superhero role model. Why? Unlike Superman and Spiderman, Dr. Who had the ability to travel through time. History is a very powerful tool for Ferguson, who has spent his life looking back in order to make sense of how to look forward. In his most recent interview with Big Think, Ferguson walks us through the six “killer applications” that made the Western world dominant through the past 500 years.
Ferguson goes on to compare today’s China to Germany in 1910. “When I look at China today, I see a similar combination of rapid economic growth, impressive innovation, social transformation, but also political system that doesn’t want to change. That wants to essentially retain the institutions of 40 years ago, which was essentially what the Kaiser wanted too. And I also detect a real resemblance in the somewhat shrill nationalism that emanates from some parts of Chinese society, notably from relatively young Chinese.” So maybe we shouldn’t be too worried about China’s rise as a superpower.