Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook

Date/Time
Date(s) - 03/23/18
4:45 pm - 6:30 pm

Location
Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Hosted by
Chicago Council


 

Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook

Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

 

Hierarchical structures such as states dominate our understanding of history. But even as rulers asserted their power from the towers of palaces, real power often resided in the town squares below, within constantly shifting networks of people. The age of the world wide web has illuminated the power of networks but, Niall Ferguson argues, this is an age-old phenomenon. The tension between rigid hierarchies and fluid, informal webs of interconnection has been a defining, if misunderstood, driver of change and disruption throughout modern history. Are there historical analogies to the rise of today’s online social networks? What does history teach about the ability of networks to overcome established hierarchies?

Copies of Niall Ferguson’s new book The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook will be available for sale and signing after the program.

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Niall Ferguson

Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of fifteen books, including Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. Ferguson is also an award-making filmmaker having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. In addition to writing a weekly column for London’s Sunday Times and the Boston Globe, Ferguson is also the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, an advisory firm, and serves on the board of Affiliated Managers Group.

 

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