SIMON JOHNSON, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is currently Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT's Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. He is the co-author of STARTING OVER IN EASTERN EUROPE and co-founder of the blog site THE BASELINE SCENARIO with James Kwak, with whom he also co-authored the new book, 13 BANKERS: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown.
NIALL FERGUSON is Lawrence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, an op ed columnist for the LA Times, and the other of several books, the newest is THE ASCENT OF MONEY: A Financial History of the World.
In THE ASCENT OF MONEY, NIALL FERGUSON says that finance is the foundation of human progress, and that financial history is the essential back-story behind all history.
He explains how banks provided the material basis for the the Italian Renaissance, while the bond market was the decisive factor in conflicts from the Seven Years' War to the American Civil War. Ferguson points out the origins of the French Revolution in a stock market bubble, and shows how a financial revolution is propelling the world's most populous country from poverty to power in a single generation.
The single most important lesson of financial history is that sooner or later every bubble bursts - sooner or later the bearish sellers outnumber the bullish buyers - sooner or later greed flips into fear.
We'll discuss how history can be helpful at a moment like this. And, what can it tell us about our current crisis and the way out?