Civilization: Is the West History?

  • Episode 1 - Competition

    In 1420, Ming China could claim to be the world's most advanced civilisation, but Europe subsequently excelled through competition. Have we now lost the competitive edge to a rapidly ascending Asia?

  • Episode 2 - Science

    In 1683 the Ottoman army laid siege to Vienna, but was defeated by the West's greater scientific knowledge. Niall Ferguson examines if the West can still maintain this scientific lead.

  • Episode 3 - Property

    Niall Ferguson asks why North America succeeded while South America for so many centuries lagged behind, and if North and South are now converging, linguistically as well as economically.

  • Episode 4 - Medicine

    Niall Ferguson looks at how 19th-century advances in medicine made it possible to export Western civilisation to Africa, with mixed results, and how China is building a new African empire

  • Episode 5 - Consumerism

    Consumerism has changed the way the world works. Only the Muslim world has resisted. Niall Ferguson asks if we are now seeing the first effective challenge to consumerism's world dominance.

  • Episode 6 - Work

    The final episode of Niall Ferguson's series looks at the West's work ethic, asking why it is now fading, with today's real workers and savers being the heirs of Confucius and not Calvin