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Civilization: The West and the Rest with Niall Ferguson

Civilization: The West and the Rest with Niall Ferguson

Photo Credit:  Dewald Aukema / Chimerica
  • Premiered: 
    March 6, 2011
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Ch4
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Based on the 2011 book (Civilization: The West and the Rest) by Niall Ferguson 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
  • Tags:

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Plot Synopsis

Author and host Niall Ferguson travels to 11 countries to examine why Western civilization has prevailed around the world for the past five centuries, having influenced food, clothing, medicine, government and religion. Focusing on six primary attributes -- competition, science, modern medicine, democracy, consumerism, and work ethic -- that he theorizes are responsible for the West being so influential and powerful, he investigates the past while questioning which region of the world will dominate world culture in the future. Ferguson argues that competition, science and democracy put the West ahead of Asia, the Muslim world and South America; and proposes that modern medicine, consumerism and the work ethic supported the West's expansion into Africa, its mastery of mass marketing and consumption, and promotion of its work culture. With the inexorable rise of China and Islam re-energized, is the West history in the future? Showing the program as two, 120-minute episodes, PBS aired the U.S. premiere of this series on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8pm ET, with the finale one week later.


Other Titles

  • Originally aired in the UK as: Civilization: Is the West History?

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Chimerica Media Limited
  • Produced by BBC
  • Produced by THIRTEEN
  • In association with WNET