About The Wild Peak Blog
“Everyone having the power will in the end commit the appropriate atrocities” – Leopold Kohr
I’m an economist, historian, writer, educator and occasional economic consultant to one or two of the powers that be.
From a very early age I’ve been fascinated by history in all its forms: social, economic, religious, intellectual, scientific and political. At the moment I’m writing a book on Morality and the writing of history; I hope to find a snappier title before it’s finished!
History in its widest sense isn’t just concerned with how Kings and other ‘great men’ fought to cling to or extend their power; though regrettably this is still a common tenor of much academic and popular historical writing. Over the course of the last half century there has been a welcome shift towards history ‘from below’, the longue durée and even the history of mentalités.
But as entertaining and illuminating as history can be, and I find much of it both, surely it also needs to have something to tell us about the way we live today. If not, then it’s escapist entertainment or “art for art’s sake”. Of course there’s nothing wrong with either and this blog may well yet contain examples of both.
Chris Harman once suggested “History is about the sequence of events that led to the lives we lead today. It is the story of how we came to be ourselves”. How we ‘came to be ourselves’ can often be illustrated just as well by small, even obscure, incidents or stories as it can by sweeping narratives. I once learnt a tremendous amount about the English enclosure movement, and the continual eviction of the English people from their common land, by discovering and researching the story of one late seventeenth century Cumbrian tenant farmer who walked all the way to London to plead on behalf of himself and others before the House of Lords. Now, poignant and touching as this story is, unless we know something about the economic and social forces at play, it will teach us little.
Its remit is wide and will evolve. There will likely be no single thread; save perhaps that, when all is said and done, people matter more than power.