Niall Ferguson on Social Networks Throughout History
Early Modern • 29m
Most history is hierarchical: it’s about popes, presidents and prime ministers. A very small section of society has wielded very great power. But what if that’s simply because they are responsible for creating the historical archives? What if we are missing out on understanding equally powerful but less visible networks? The 21st century has been hailed as the Networked Age. But what if, in fact, we have always lived in networked ages? From the printers and preachers who made the Reformation to the freemasons who led the American Revolution, it was – and indeed always has been - the networkers who disrupted the old order or popes and kings. What if the computer is simply the new printing press? In this episode, leading historian Niall Ferguson discusses his new book on the subject, ‘The Square and the Tower’, and argues that the distance between medieval market place and online market place is not as small as one might think.
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