My comment following Niall Ferguson’s article in The Sunday Times, 24 May 2020, was blocked.
Paraphrasing slightly Joseph V. Stalin’s article in Pravda, 2 March 1930, I would like to say that Niall Ferguson’s successes in the sphere of predicting the future are now being spoken of by everyone. Even his enemies are forced to admit that the successes are substantial. And they really are very great.
But the successes have their seamy side, especially when they are attained with comparative “ease”. Such successes sometimes induce a spirit of vanity and conceit: “I can achieve anything!”, “There is nothing I can’t do!” People not infrequently become intoxicated by such successes; they become dizzy with success, loose all sense of proportion and the capacity to understand realities; they show a tendency to overrate their own strength and to underrate the strength of the enemy.
By focusing on couple of his ealier predictions Niall Ferguson conveniently moves away from history and the failures of the historical folk in understanding and interpreting even the very recent events.
One might even say, that he is trying to write history of the future before it happens. Is he a historian or a futurist? Trying to be both perhaps? Can you be a good historio-futurist, if you get the most recent history completely wrong? I doubt it. But he not only seems to have no doubts, he even gets handsomely paid for it. Where is the ethics in all of this?
Interestingly, the ‘history of the future’ or ‘future history’ is equally appealing to Communists, people he claims to oppose. Hm…
On November 3, 2019, he wrote lots of nonsense about the so-called ‘collapse of Communism’. The concept of the ‘collapse of Communism’ belongs to Communist mythology. Communism has not collapsed. It was a mere change of clothes and an exercise in redecoration.
Although he is not alone in being terribly wrong, being one of the many who are terribly wrong should not be an excuse.