April 18, 2019
To be posted on Nobabies.net


Niall Ferguson
Adolphus Busch Hall
27 Kirkland Street at Cabot Way
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Tsk, tsk.  You know better, professor.  I heard you on an interview saying, “History does not cycle.  If it did it would be predictable.”  Well, history is predictable.  Consider this crude graph I made; all lower Mesopotamian civilizations throughout history start out at time zero and proceed to the right in 50 year increments.  The vertical axis is the chance those civilizations that made it so far have of lasting the next 50 years.

 If you have tears, prepare to shed them.  I did make one tweak.  The Ottoman Empire was ruled by an autocrat.  But it was a lot of work, so he appointed a vizier to do the usual business.  Beneath him, in early years, were a group of slaves, the Janissaries, recruited from the Balkans.  They were the elite soldiers, the administrators and generally made things work.  But the supply of them ran out after many years and from then on, they became a hereditary class.  I count that as being two empires, although nominally they were the same empire. 
Chance of surviving the next 50 years is on vertical axis

Age of the empires in years is on horizontal axis.
Information taken from R. H. Carling THE WORLD HISTORY CHART International Timeline.  

It is clear that history is highly predictable. Sure, there’s a random element.  Modern physics admits random elements so long as probabilities can be specified.  In this case the source of the random variation is clear, unlike in physics where you just have to stomach it. 

If I have misrepresented what you said, let me know so I can correct it.  As you should know from prior correspondence, I much prefer to lead with an olive branch rather than a willow switch. 

At all events go over the enclosed DVD, Word, Windows 10.  There are a fat file, a thin file and a video from gapminder.  You will see beyond doubt that we are in dire danger.  (Yes, there is an unknown degree of variation we do not know … yet.)  Look into the trusting eyes of a child – or petulant eyes for that matter – and ponder what lengths you would go to to keep the child from one day becoming a cannibal, being eaten by cannibals or both.  Since the data I am giving you strongly suggest that our high-tech civilization will collapse first, think what over seven billion people will do to the environment and to each other when there is only food for two billion under the best of conditions and conditions will not be the best. 

You have a remarkable reputation as I ask around with both extreme fans and foes.  Maybe you should be president.  Anyway, now you have the motivation to go through the DVD (I may have sent one before, but given your remark on YouTube you probably took it on a nice skeet shooting expedition.)  Then figure out how to put your substantial skills and exalted status to work to save that child.  I stand by to help in any way my ancient carcass can, 24/7 given a day or so’s warning.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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