The Australian Broadcasting Corporation shares another terrific must watch presentation, this time by one of our favorite socioeconomic historians, Niall Ferguson, who in this lecture talks in depth, and with an objective perspective that only few can share, about empires on the verge of decline, emphasizing the precarious position the US has found itself in, now that China’s ascendancy is undisputed, and only matched by the accelerating descent of the once great US nation. The fact that Ferguson is Paul Krugman’s natural nemesis in all things only makes his insights all that more relevant (not to mention correct). And while the various chapters discuss such key concepts as the limits and implications of complexity theory, the ever increasing portion of US federal revenues attributed to interest payments (surpassing defense spending), China’s military sustainability, the limits of Keynesian stimulus, investing in gold and hyperinflationary concerns, the primary highlight is Ferguson’s discussion on what may be the primary topic of 2011: whether ot not debt will trigger the collapse of the US. To wit: “Sometime over the next decade the US will reach the crossover point at which it will be spending more on debt service, than it is able to spend on defense…The Chinese have noticed what the rest of the world’s investors pretend not to see: that the US is on a completely unsustainable fiscal course with no apparent political means of self-correcting. Ladies and gentlemen, military retreat from the mountains of the Hindu Kush, or the plains of Mesopotamia has long been the harbinger of imperial fall.