Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson on China: Growing ‘Maostalgia’

Harvard professor Niall Ferguson, with his characteristic Oxford accent and straightforward candor, is now hosting a television program called “China: Triumph and Turmoil,” in which he will examine China’s rapid ascendency and what it exactly means for the rest of the world.

What are some of his preliminary findings? According to The Telegraph:

“Among his discoveries [are] burgeoning ranks of zealous young Chinese patriots who are marrying technological savvy and economic power with nationalist fervour…

‘It is one of our comforting and enduring myths that as China becomes more modern and sophisticated, more like us, it will come to adopt our values,’ he observes. ‘I’m not sure it’s going to be like that…’

But it isn’t just the young. For the new three-part series, he also found among older Chinese a growing ‘Maostalgia,’ a nostalgia for the era of Mao Tse-tung. In Western eyes, Chairman Mao is strongly associated with the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, but for many Chinese, he is the father of a modern, booming nation.

When describing the “tug-of-war” between China’s fondness for capitalist economics and its resentment of Western cultural hegemony, Ferguson concluded that, “The attitude is; if we make it economically, we don’t have to kowtow to you culturally.”

But with what some are calling unsustainable economic growth rates, is China even a threat?  Many have said not to worry, China will collapse under its own weight.

Ferguson is of a different mind.  “They face the challenge of managing a dynamic society and that is a real problem with real tensions. But I don’t buy the idea that China is about to implode or disintegrate.”  Rather, after exploring the nation’s copper mines in Zambia, he mused, “Maybe this is the beginning of a world empire.”

Ferguson has appeared several times on the Glenn Beck program.  Watch Glenn revel in Ferguson’s takedown of Mika Brzezinski, below: