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.

  1. Catherine says:

    Agree with the importance of historical context in the telling of personal narratives. A most interesting blog. Thanks

    • Stephen Lewis says:

      Thank you. I’m very interested in family history as well. I’ve just started a blog on part of my family:http://grisdalefamily.wordpress.com/
      Hope to add more soon. Maybe the article on How many ancestors do you have could be of interest? Stephen

      • Catherine says:

        Wonderful… I’ll check it out on the next “click”. BTW I “tweeted” your “About…..” posting to #genealogy and #familyhistory. It may bring some other interested readers your way. Cheers.

  2. SoundEagle says:

    Hi Stephen,

    SoundEagle agrees with you on the importance of the voices of the grassroots, minorities and everyday citizens, without which historical, sociological, anthropological and archaeological research and findings would be incomplete, piecemeal, unrepresentative, biased and even misleading and unreliable, not to mention that Kings and other ‘great men’ could lie to people and coerce chroniclers to change or edit out certain details.

  3. Liane Jacob says:

    People, power – in that order. How do you insure that it remains in that order? For people to be the dominate factor, power must be divided and shared among many individuals. Respect reinforces the belief that people are more important than power. Respect involves trust.

    If people are to be more important than power, believing in people and allowing people to have choices creates an environment where people come first.

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