Saturday, October 15, 2011

Niall Ferguson: the Ann Coulter of Harvard

Niall Ferguson has a post in the Daily Beast in which he lambasts the Occupy Wall Streeters for blaming "big business" for our ills, rather than the real culprits, which (in his mind) are the Baby Boomers.

For Ferguson, a Harvard professor, it's easier to point a finger at a generation, rather than at the highly compensated Ivy League grads on Wall Street, whose fiscally unsound business practices dragged our economy into a sewer. Here's Ferguson, on the protestors:

"Yet if I were a young American today, occupying Wall St. would not be my objective. Just reflect for a minute on the unbridled economic mayhem that would ensue if the protesters actually succeeded. The headline “Goldman Sachs Under Control of Hip Teenage Revolutionaries” would be the last straw for an already fragile economic recovery."

Ferguson feels the protesters need to shift attention away from Wall Street and focus on Boomers - the source of our ills today is the Boomers' profligate spending, their upcoming age-related illnesses and their inability to die inexpensively after a long and expensive life.

Myself, I am not aware that the goal of OWS is for teens to takeover Goldman Sachs. I was under the impression they wanted Wall Street to clean up its act, not for Lloyd Blankfein to capitulate to those not old enough to drink legally.

But for a Harvard professor, it's easier to be glib and facile and point the finger a a particular generation, rather than examine the serious business flaws within our financial sector (the sector that required an astronomical bailout to "protect" the economy from failing in 2008). Generational discord is Ferguson's snappy retort to those protesting the fraud and corruption of Wall Street.

By doing so, he's become the Ann Coulter of Harvard, a media hound willing to say anything to get attention. Because, after all, it works. Which is not at all "way cool..."