Civilization: Is The West History?

8:00pm Sunday, April 10 on

The final episode of Niall Ferguson’s series looks at the West’s work ethic. Max Weber famously linked it to Protestantism, but the reality is that any culture regardless of religion is capable of embracing the spirit of capitalism by working hard, saving and accumulating capital. The question is why that ethic seems now to be fading in the West. Europeans no longer work long hours; Americans have almost given up saving completely. The real workers and savers in the world are now the heirs of Confucius and not Calvin.

8:00pm Sunday, March 20 on C4

Niall Ferguson asks why did North America succeed while South America for so many centuries lagged behind? The two had much in common, and yet Latin America remained politically fragmented, socially divided and economically backward as the United States rose to global primacy.

8:00pm Sunday, March 13 on C4

In 1683 the Ottoman army laid siege to Vienna, capital of Europe’s most powerful empire. Domination of East over West was an alarmingly plausible scenario. But Islam was defeated: not so much by firepower as by science. Niall Ferguson asks why the Islamic world didn’t participate in the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, and if the West is still capable of maintaining its scientific lead, at a time when educational attainment in science subjects is declining.

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