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Niall Ferguson

Financial Times Greek crisis op-ed

3 Jul, 2015

Ferguson writes an editorial about the Greek financial crisis in The Financial Times.

Yes, it is quite possible that, in this weekend’s theatre-of-the-absurd referendum, the Greek people may vote “No” to a programme that is no longer available, and that this (despite their prime minister’s protestations to the contrary) may ultimately lead to their departure from the European monetary union. But as recently as the 1970s we would have had to worry about much nastier scenarios. There would have been a real communist left, poised to proclaim the dictatorship of the proletariat. And there would have been a real military right, ready to crush the left by imposing martial law. Neither of these things is now conceivable.

Politically, most of the world has never been more boring. Instead of the alarms and excursions of the past, we now have technocrats versus populists. Any violence is verbal and the technocrats nearly always win. Even in the US, despite what you might glean from television news, the real story of our time is the decline of violence. With their cities far safer than they were in the 1970s and 1980s, Americans can peacefully ponder such questions as: “Can a man become a woman?” (Yes.) And “Can a white woman become a black woman?” (No.) Will a civil war ever be fought over same-sex marriage? It seems unlikely. Does a president risk assassination by reforming healthcare? I think not.