Peter Acton

‘They rose from nothing and changed everything.’  This fantastic, fawning, fallacious guff introduced a 2016 PBS documentary on ancient Greece, and the biography of the sentiment behind it forms the subject of this unusual social history. Irritated by the fact that almost every media report, political speech, and cartoon about ...

... (read more)

Given the damage done to the global economy by the finance industry this century, and the apparent determination of its major players to keep on doing it, this would ...

... (read more)

Peter Acton reviews 'Capitalism' by John Plender

Peter Acton
Wednesday, 28 October 2015

'Money is like poetry because both involve learning to communicate in a compressed language that packs a lot of meaning and consequence into the minimum semantic space.'  This comparison, coming from one of today's most strident critics of the capitalist system, British novelist

Consider the following statements: unregulated markets achieve the best outcomes for society; ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’; government intervention, regulation, and redistribution damage economic growth; tax cuts for the rich are a reliable way to foster growth; financial market innovations create growth and benefit society. A ...

Father of democracy or nepotic would-be tyrant, corrupting the citizens with flattery and handouts? Brilliant orator, fearlessly committed to the truth, or dangerous sophist saying whatever the mob wanted to hear? Effective administrator of a complex and benevolent empire or cruel curtailer of the allies’ liberties? A model of sobriety and chastity or a lecherous ...

Glyn Davis reviews 'Poiesis' by Peter Acton

Glyn Davis
Monday, 02 March 2015

On what terms should we interrogate the past? Ancient life can seem essentially unknowable, a place where everything is different, glimpsed only in the words of those who lived then and surviving traces of material culture.

The Cambridge classical scholar Sir Moses Finley argued for an interpretation of ancient life bounded by then current civic and religiou ...

Peter Acton reviews 'The Invention of News' by Andrew Pettegree

Peter Acton
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

When St Paul’s burned down in 1561, no one was in any doubt that it was the work of God. The debate – and it was a furious one in the press of the time – concerned what this said about His views on the abolition of the mass. Contemporary press reports of the Battle of Lepanto, the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and the Spanish Armada show how reporting of ev ...