Sunday, February 25, 2007

History of Power v. History of Cooperation

Stephen Davies notes that history is typically marked through time in terms of wars and revolutions, and much of history seems to emphasize government. He suggests we might draw history's timelines in terms of what is important for everyday life:
However, because this narrative is not spelled out and its key dates are mostly unknown, we are generally unaware of it. The process it traces and its benefits are taken for granted and assumed to be natural. If we do stop and think about it, however, we will see the world and the course of human history differently from how the narrative of power would have us see it. We should realize that what is important for the everyday life and hopes of ordinary people is not power but peaceful cooperation and exchange. Not everyone welcomes this. There are those who would decry increased affluence, regret the easier movement of people, and deplore cultural mixing and exchange. We should ignore them and reject their argument.
This is a very interesting idea. I do wonder what history's timelines would look like if we emphasized the development of economic prosperity, instead of the use of power by government. Perhaps this is done by economic historians, eh?

No comments: