Skip to main content

Niall Ferguson on entrepreneurial freedom and innovation



I am presently watching Niall Ferguson speak on entrepreneurial freedom in the global financial system, a presentation given at the St. Gallen Symposium 2010.

According to Professor Ferguson, the innovations brought about during the industrial revolution not only increased the efficiencies of goods manufacturing, it also made it easier for the very people who made those goods to buy more. These advances in economic ingenuity and processes are at the heart of rising living standards and economic growth.

Ferguson begins this lecture with some frank talk about Americans' delusions over their rapidly rising wealth twice over a ten year period (first in the dot com bubble, followed by the real estate boom); he then moves on to address the realities of economic decoupling, as seen in the recession in the developed world vs. slowing growth in developing economies.

He then offers a quick rundown of the factors which brought on the recent financial crisis, leading up to a historical overview of the industrial revolution and the efficiencies created by the "entrepreneur-driven process". Where industrial technologies and industrial processes were successfully spread, they came about mainly as a result of risk taking by entrepreneurs.

Relentless innovation and competition from entrepreneurs have driven down the costs of manufactured goods ever since. Schumpeter's description of the process of "creative destruction" speaks to the realities of economic survival; according to the evolutionary mode of thought, there are businesses and business models that, not unlike a species doomed to extinction, are not supposed to survive.

Unfortunately, we seem to face some very real threats to the workings of this spontaneous cycle of innovation and renewal. The long-term economic prosperity that has come about as a result is also in danger, says Ferguson.

What are the principal threats to entrepreneurial freedom and innovation? Let's tune in and find out.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dot-Com Bubble in 1 Chart: InfoSpace

With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance, I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart.

So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like. 

Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ$BCORpic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7
— David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015
For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan, turned to rubble.

As detailed in our post, "Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months. 

In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the stock soon peaked and began a…

New! Finance Trends now at FinanceTrendsLetter.com

Update for our readers: Finance Trends has a new URL! 

Please bookmark our new web address at Financetrendsletter.com

Readers sticking with RSS updates should point your feed readers to our new Finance Trends feedburner.  



Thank you to all of our loyal readers who have been with us since the early days. Exciting stuff to come in the weeks ahead!

As a quick reminder, you can subscribe to our free email list to receive the Finance Trends Newsletter. You'll receive email updates about once every 4-8 weeks (about 2-3 times per quarter). 

Stay up to date with our real-time insights and updates on Twitter.

Moneyball: How the Red Sox Win Championships

Welcome, readers. To get the first look at brand new posts (like the following piece) and to receive our exclusive email list updates, please subscribe to the Finance Trends Newsletter.

The Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series titleof the 21st century this week.

Having won their first Series in 86 years back in 2004, the last decade-plus has marked a very strong return to form for one of baseball's oldest big league clubs. So how did they do it?

Quick background: in late 2002, team owner and hedge fund manager,John W. Henry(with his partners)bought the Boston Red Sox and its historic Fenway Park for a reported sum of $695 million.

Henry and Co. quickly set out to find their ideal General Manager (GM) to help turn around their newly acquired, ailing ship.

This brings us to one of my favorite scenes from the 2011 film, Moneyball, in which John W. Henry (played by Arliss Howard) attempts to woo Oakland A's GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) over to Boston with an excellent job off…