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Henry  Farrell

Henry Farrell

SNF Agora Institute Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Henry Farrell

SNF Agora Institute Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Biography

Technology is transforming the global marketplace. Henry Farrell has spent decades thinking and writing about the changes it has created, carrying out cutting edge research, and writing for places like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Economist, Washington Post, and Foreign Affairs.

Paul Krugman described his and Abraham Newman’s book, Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy as “revelatory,” while Dani Rodrik said that it’s “the book you need to read if you want to understand where the world economy has been and where it may be headed.”

Farrell and Newman’s idea, ‘weaponized interdependence,’ has shaped how US, European and Asian leaders think about the geopolitics of the global economy.  

Farrell is the SNF Agora Institute Professor of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a 2019 winner of the Friedrich Schiedel Prize for Politics and Technology, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Speaker Videos

Henry Farrell | The Complex Aftermath of Globalization

"Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy" with Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman

Henry Farrell on Weaponized Interdependence, Big Tech, and Playing with Ideas | Convos with Tyler

Speech Topics

It’s the 2020s, and Markets are Now Battlefields

For decades, the conventional wisdom was that global markets would bring peace and prosperity to the world. Now, we’re discovering how markets can be weaponized. The US has cut entire countries out of the international financial system, and strangled China’s access to the semiconductors needed for high-end AI. China may retaliate by blocking export of the metals needed to make chips. In this talk, which draws from his recent book, Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy, [Farrell:Newman] explains how this new world came into being, and what it means for business.

The New Landscape of Geopolitical Risk

Governments used to want to promote business in an open global economy. Now they are pressing companies into service – to defend the national interest or to undermine the interests of others. Increasingly, the most successful firm are often the biggest targets. When a business dominates its global market, it can make big profits, but it also can attract the attention of governments, who may want to turn its market control into a global chokepoint to use against adversaries, or make sure that adversaries don’t turn it into a weapon against them. In this talk, [Farrell: Newman] will draw from their recent book, Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy, and their Harvard Business Review article to explain how some businesses are trying to hide from economic conflict, others are picking a side, and others still are trying to bridge the divide. Each strategy has its own risks, and rewards.

What AI Can Do – and What it Can’t

The public debate over AI has been captivated by the notion that existing AI will soon give birth to a new kind of machine intelligence, which might beat or even replace human thinkers. Human history will end, in what some critics have described as the “Rapture of the Nerds.” In this talk, Farrell will build on his influential writing on AI, published in the Economist, to strip away the myths around AI, and explain what it can and can’t do. Current AI technologies such as “large language models” may transform the world, but they won’t replace human thinking. Instead, like markets, or business organizations, they will channel it in new directions. The biggest opportunities will go to those who figure out how to combine new technologies and high quality human knowledge in creative ways.