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If I ruled the world: Niall Ferguson

Ruling is an anachronism—it made sense in the 17th century, but not now. If I were in charge I’d stamp out rulers altogether

By Niall Ferguson   May 2011

You don’t become an academic to rule the world—especially not an academic historian. What always attracted me to universities was their very weak structure of authority. Unlike my schoolteachers, my tutors at Oxford had no means of disciplining me other than by occasionally emitting weary sighs of disapproval. I, in turn, have rarely if ever sought to coerce my students. The best learning springs from mutual respect and shared enthusiasm, not from professorial diktat.

No, I never wanted to rule anything. While my university contemporaries rose to command soldiers in battle, direct actors on stage or hurl expletives at underlings…

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