Niall Ferguson has been wrong before

Posted by Kelly Fincham at 5/28/2009 10:23 AM EDT
 
So, I wake up this morning to yet another dire prediction that Ireland is about to go bust.
 
This time it comes from Harvard professor and financial historian Niall Ferguson.
 
"The idea that countries don't go bust is a joke," he says.
 
"The debt trap may be about to spring for countries that have created large stimulus packages in order to stimulate their economies."
 
The first off the blocks, according to Ferguson will be "Ireland, followed by Italy and Belgium."
 
His comments will probably be treated as gospel by his followers.
 
After all this is a Harvard Professor and a well-respected author with several books to his credit.
 
But this is the same man who, in December 2003, said President George W Bush could have both "guns and butter."
 
That is, America could shoulder the cost of invading Afghanistan and Iraq while maintaining a decent cost of living for its citizens.
 
"Today's economic circumstances mean that, in the short run, the administration can actually afford to spend billions simultaneously on conquest and on consumption," he opined in The New York Times on December 7, 2003.
 
"Today's economic circumstances?" What economic circumstances?
 
The so-called prosperity Ferguson referred to was built on a shimmering mirage. It probably wasn't visible to the likes of Ferguson who flits in and out of the country like a Canada goose but the average American only appeared to be prosperous. Any careful examination would have revealed the fact that Americans were borrowing off Peter to pay Paul.
 
History of course proved Ferguson wrong.
 
So please, don't pay this claim much attention. Ferguson's been catastrophically wrong before. He can be wrong again.

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