Harvard Prof. Niall Ferguson Warns of Sudden Collapse of American ‘Empire’

Rome is already burning. Prepare for the worst.

With The US Still Trapped in Depression, This Really Is Starting to Feel Like 1932

Howard Davidowitz: Obama is ‘Mr. Mass Destruction’ – US Economy ‘Is a Complete Disaster’


harvard-professor-and-author-niall-ferguson
Harvard professor and author Niall Ferguson speaks about the financial crisis during an opening session of the Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday afternoon.

Harvard professor and prolific author Niall Ferguson opened the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival Monday with a stark warning about the increasing prospect of the American “empire” suddenly collapsing due to the country’s rising debt level.

“I think this is a problem that is going to go live really soon,” Ferguson said. “In that sense, I mean within the next two years. Because the whole thing, fiscally and other ways, is very near the edge of chaos. And we’ve seen already in Greece what happens when the bond market loses faith in your fiscal policy.”

Ferguson said empires — such as the former Soviet Union and the Roman empire — can collapse quite quickly and the tipping point is often when the cost of servicing an empire’s debt is larger than the cost of its defense budget.

“That has not been the case I think at any point in U.S. history,” Ferguson said. “It will be the case in the next five years.”

Ferguson was conscious of opening the Ideas Festival on such a stark note.

“Walter Isaacson, the leader of this great institution said, ‘Don’t be too dark!,’” Ferguson said.

The affable British scholar tried to keep it light. He used a stage whisper to tell the Aspen Institute audience, “I know you’re not comfortable with the word ‘empire,’ especially just after the Fourth of July, but you are the Redcoats now.”

He said the U.S. is now deeply in the red as a country because of a combination of the Great Recession, the resulting federal stimulus and financial bailout programs, two wars, the Bush tax cuts, and a growth in social entitlement programs.

And economic debt can lead to a sudden loss of military power and global respect, Ferguson said.

“By combating our crisis of private debt with an extraordinary expansion of public debt, we inevitably are going to reduce the resources available for national security in the years ahead,” Ferguson said. “Because as a debt grows, so the interest payments you have to make on it grow, even if interest rates stay low. And on current projections, the federal debt is going to be absorbing around 20 percent — a fifth of all the taxes you pay — within just a few years.

“The item of discretionary federal expenditure most likely to be squeezed is of course defense. And there are lots of historic precedents for that,” said Ferguson, who is the author of “Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power.”

Ferguson said the financial crisis that started in 2007 has “has accelerated a fundamental shift in the balance of power,” with the U.S. shedding power and China absorbing it.

“I’ve just come back from China — a two-week trip there — and the thing I heard most often was, ‘You can’t lecture us about the superiority of your system anymore. We don’t need to learn anything from you about financial institutions and forget about democracy. We see where it has got you.’”

David Gergen of CNN, who moderated the discussion, which also included billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman, asked Ferguson whether it made a difference if the U.S. declined as a world power.

“Having grown up in a declining empire, I do not recommend it,” Ferguson said. “It’s not a lot of fun, actually, decline. To be more serious, a world in which the United States is no longer predominate is not likely to be a better world, actually.”

In what he called his “light moment,” Ferguson said, “I think there is a way out for the United States. I don’t think its over. But it all hinges on whether you can re-energize the real mainsprings of American power. And those two things are technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Those are the things that made the United States the greatest economy in the world and the critical question is, ‘Are we going to get it right?’ Can we revive those things in such a way that in the end we grow our way out of this hole the way the United States grew its way out of the 1970s and of course out of the 1930s?”

The Aspen Ideas Festival continues through July 11 at the Aspen Institute. Such notables as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan are scheduled to appear.

A number of events are open to the public, but tickets were going fast on Monday through the website Aspen Show Tickets. Aspen Public Radio also plans on broadcasting a number of festival events live, including on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and at 1 and 5 p.m.

by Brent Gardner-Smith, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Source: Aspen Daily News

Change we can believe in:

US Missiles Deployed Near China Send a Message

Obama Administration Plans Secret Big Brother ‘Perfect Citizen’ Net Surveillance

General James Mattis who said it was ‘fun to shoot people’ takes over US Central Command

EU gives US access to its citizens’ private financial data

Obama Administration To Sue Arizona Over Immigration Law

Dylan Ratigan Show: President Obama ‘Has A Hit List Of American Citizens Like YOU targeted For Assassination’

Third US carrier, 4,000 Marines augment US armada opposite Iran

Now truth is bad for you: ‘Obama warns Erdogan international Gaza flotilla probe bad for Turkey’

Obama Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Approved By Senate Committee

Americans buying their own health insurance face an average 20 percent increase in premiums

Big Brother DHS And DOD Want To Open US Skies To Spy Drones

President Obama Has Already Outdone Every Previous President In Prosecuting Whistleblowers

US government debt to rise to $19.6 trillion by 2015

Left-Wing Icon Daniel Ellsberg: ‘Obama Deceives the Public’

US: $13 Trillion Debt Poised to Overtake GDP (Chart of Day)

10 US States Where An Absurd Percentage Of The Population Works For The Government

US ’secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces are deployed in 75 countries

Paul Craig Roberts: A Plague Upon The World: The USA is a “Failed State”

President Obama’s New World Order: ‘We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation’

President Obama Wins The Right to Detain People With No Habeas Review

US government can execute its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence!

US posts 19th straight monthly budget deficit; April deficit nearly four times higher than in 2009

Hyperfast missile to strike anywhere on Earth within an hour wins President Obama’s support

President Obama Repaying His Masters At Goldman Sachs

Marriage Penalties Increase Dramatically Under ObamaCare

The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente on ObamaCare, Dollar Devaluation And Gold

Peter Schiff on ObamaCare

Rep. Ron Paul: President Obama Is ‘Not A Socialist.’ ‘He Is A Corporatist.’

Dylan Ratigan Show With Alan Grayson: The Great Con Job By The Fed, The Government And The Banksters

Michelle Obama says Barack’s Home country is Kenya – full statement

Obama Administration Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

Judge Napolitano on Obama’s Private Army

Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical

Obama Gives ‘Pesticide Lobbyist’ Post as Chief Agricultural Negotiator

It’s Official: America Now Enforces Capital Controls

Rep. Ron Paul: Healthcare Will Drive US To Bankruptcy

Gerald Celente: This time they will close the Banks & Wall Street (03/27/10)

John Pilger: Have a Nice World War III, Folks

Ron Paul on MSNBC’s Morning Joe: We have only one party in America and all they fight over is power and influence

The War on WikiLeaks … and Why It Matters

White House Press Corps longest-serving member Helen Thomas on her one question for Obama

Obamacare: 12 Taxes Violate Obama’s Pledge Not to Increase Taxes on Households Earning Less than $250,000

Obama exempt from Obamacare

Joe Biden to Barack Obama: ‘Mr. President, This Is A Big F****** Deal’

Rep. Ron Paul: Healthcare Bill is ‘Blatantly Unconstitutional And Contrary to The Ideals of Liberty’

US: THE Most Important Chart of the CENTURY

Health Care Bill ‘Dangerously Expands IRS’s Power’

US Government Preparing For Civil Unrest In America

Obamacare Tax Hikes

Record: National Debt Up $2 Trillion in Just 421 Days on Obama’s Watch

Obama agencies invoking secrecy provision more often than under Bush

US budget deficit hits record $221bn, the largest monthly deficit in history

Michael Moore: ‘Democrats are a bunch of wusses … It’s disgusting … I’m sick of them’

President Obama signs one-year extension of Patriot Act

Cybersecurity Bill To Give President Obama New Emergency Powers

Obama Administration Using Accounting Gimmicks That Would Make Enron ‘Blush,’ Says Republican Lawmaker

Judge Napolitano and Angela Keaton on Freedom Watch: Obama’s Bush Foreign Policy

Obama Signs Law Raising Public Debt Limit from $12.4 Trillion to $14.3 Trillion

Cynthia McKinney at Munich Germany NATO Peace Rally: ‘My Country Has Been Hijacked By A Criminal Cabal’

President Obama’s Pledge Never to Raise Taxes on Anyone Making Less Than $250,000 a Year

Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘20 Percent Of Our Accumulated Wealth Over The Course Of 2 Centuries Gone in 18 months!’

Paul Craig Roberts: It Is Now Official: The U.S. Is A Police State

Prof. Russell Roberts Testifies Before House Committee: ‘I Want My Country Back!’

Director of National Intelligence Says US May Kill Americans Abroad

President Obama Ups Pakistan Drone Strikes in Assassination Campaign

The New Vision of the Obama Administration: War Without End

Pentagon’s New Record Black Budget Tops $56 Billion

MSNBC Exposes President Obama’s lies: FED GAVE Banks Access to 23.7 TRILLION DOLLARS NOT $700 Billion!

Rep. Ron Paul on Obama seeking to assassinate ‘US citizens’ he labels as terrorist

White House to Paint Grim Fiscal Picture: Another Record Budget Deficit

US: GDP Mirage – The Last Hurrah

Marc Faber: Obama Makes Bush Look Like a Genius

Obamanomics: Why Did the ‘Stimulus’ Fail to Help the US Economy?

Paul Craig Roberts: How Wall Street Destroyed Health Care – Greed, Be Thou My God

President Obama to indefinitely imprison detainees without charges

Ron Paul: US Foreign Policy is Bankrupting America

Rep. Ron Paul: State of the Republic Address – ‘Dangerous Times Indeed.’

America’s Impending Master Class Dictatorship! (MUST-READ!)

The CFR Controls American News/Media

Senate Proposes Increasing US Debt Limit to $14.3 Trillion: “If Congress does not enact this legislation, and soon, then the Treasury would default on its debt for the first time in history,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus

US: Unfunded Benefits Dig States’ $3 Trillion Hole

Illinois enters a state of insolvency: ‘We’re close to de facto bankruptcy, if not de jure bankruptcy.’

The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: Financial Mafia Controlling US and Wall Street

Peter Schiff: The Lunacy of US Government Programs

– Former Dean of Harvard College Harry R. Lewis: Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country?

Experts: Dollar Crisis Looms if US Doesn’t Curb Debt

Marc Faber on Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis: Next Countries to Default are the US, Japan and the ‘PIIGS’

Nobel Peace Laureate Obama seeks additional $33 billion for wars, on top of a record request for $708 billion for the Defense Department

Fitch: US Must Cut Spending To Save AAA Rating; US December Deficit Nearly Doubles

The Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis

US slides deeper into depression as Wall Street revels

PIMCO’S Bill Gross: ‘Let’s Get Fisical’ (… or why the US will not make it.)

Barack Obama’s Health Care Lies And Reversals

US sheds 85,000 jobs in December; Record 40% Of Unemployed Without Job For 27+ Weeks

Peter Schiff on Fast Money: ‘America is broke’; ‘The Fed created a currency crisis’; ‘Dollar to collapse 50-70% or more’

US: Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Deficit

U.S. Avoids Technical Default By Three Days

As an American, I refuse to buy mandatory health insurance … that supports Big Pharma

The US Government Is Preparing For Collapse: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied

Prof. Dr. David Michael Green: Now I’m Really Getting Pissed Off … With Obama

US Treasuries Post Worst Performance Among Sovereign Markets In 2009

US losses will top $400 billion on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

US: More Ammo For The Treasury Bazooka

US government wants farmers to use coal waste on fields

The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: The Terror And The Crash of 2010

We’re Screwed! Hyperinflation like in the Weimar Republic; Great Depression worse than in the 1930s

US Congress: Banksters Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank

Traitor in chief:
Treason: Obama gives INTERPOL immunity from the Constitution (Amending Executive Order 12425)

Peter Schiff on Obamacare, Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Obama administration backs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac no matter how big their losses may be

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: US War Presidents ignore Congress and Constitution

Obamacare: Big payoffs to senators on health bill stoke public anger

US: Trillions Of Troubles Ahead

Chinese central banker Zhu Min: ‘The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries.’

Obamacare: Change Nobody Believes In

Obama’s surge comes at a cost: At least $57,077.60 per minute

US National Debt Tops Debt Limit

Hypocrite in Chief (Funny):
President Obama: Another Busy Day in The Oval Office!

Fascism in America: By Political Definition The US Is Now Fascist, Not A Constitutional Republic

John Williams of Shadowstats: Prepare For The Hyperinflationary Great Depression

Liar in Chief (NOT funny!!!):
Barack Obama Lies 7 Times In Under 2 Minutes!!!!!

Robert Fisk, The Independent’s award-winning Middle East correspondent: Obama is a Disaster, Worse than Bush

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: ‘These Wars Are Corrupting The Heart Of Our Nation!’

Famous Investor Jim Rogers: Incompetence In Washington, Abolish The Fed And The Treasury

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: The Truth About Afghanistan

Obama’s Big Sellout (Rolling Stone Magazine)

Obama administration to lift debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion

Climategate: President Obama’s rule by EPA decree is a coup d’etat against Congress, made in Britain

Obama administration tells Pakistan: Tackle Taliban or we will

MSNBC Rachel Maddow: War President Obama

Ron Paul: ‘Obama is Actually Preparing Us For Perpetual War’

–  Afghanistan Surge to Cost At Least $40 Billion, That Is $1.333.333 For One US Soldier Per Year

Rep. Brad Sherman: Geithner rejects $1 trillion limit on bailout power (Section 1204 is unlimited in dollar amount!)

Liar in Chief (Over 300 soldiers died in 2009 because of this lie!!!):
Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’