Climate change is the most urgent challenge we face in an interdependent world where independent nations have grown increasingly unable to cooperate effectively on sustainability. In this book, renowned political theorist Benjamin R. Barber describes how cities, by assuming important aspects of sovereignty, can take the lead from faltering nation states in fighting climate change. Barber argues that with more than half the world's population now in urban areas, where 80 percent of both GDP and greenhouse gas emissions are generated, cities are the key to the future of democracy and sustainability.
In this compelling sequel to If Mayors Ruled the World, Barber assesses both broad principles of urban rights and specific strategies of sustainability such as fracking bans, walkable cities, above-ground mining of precious resources, energy and heating drawn from garbage incineration, downtown wind turbines, and skyscrapers built from wood. He shows how cities working together on climate change, despite their differences in wealth, development, and culture, can find common measures by which to evaluate the radically different policies they pursue. This is a book for a world in which bold cities are collaborating to combat climate change and inspire hope for democracy even as reactionary populists take over national governments in the United States and Europe. It calls for a new social contract among citizens and municipalities to secure not only their sustainability but their survival.
The sixteen original essays in this volume bear eloquent witness to this interpenetration of art and politics. Each confronts the intersection of the aesthetic and the social, each is concerned with the interface of poetic vision and political vision, of reflection and action. They take art in the broadest sense, ranging over poets, dramatists, novelists, essayists, and filmmakers. Their focus is on art and its political dilemmas, not simply on the artist. They consider the issues raised for politics and culture by alienation, violence, modernization, technology, democracy, progress, and revolution. And they debate the capacity of art to stimulate social change and incite revolution, the temptations of social control of culture and of political censorship, the uncertain relationship between art and history, the impact of economic structure on artistic creation and of economic class on artistic product, the common ground between art and legislation and between crea-tivitv and control.
A powerful sequel to Benjamin R. Barber's best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld, Consumed offers a vivid portrait of an overproducing global economy that targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers and where the primary goal is no longer to manufacture goods but needs. To explain how and why this has come about, Barber brings together extensive empirical research with an original theoretical framework for understanding our contemporary predicament. He asserts that in place of the Protestant ethic once associated with capitalism—encouraging self-restraint, preparing for the future, protecting and self-sacrificing for children and community, and other characteristics of adulthood—we are constantly being seduced into an "infantilist" ethic of consumption.
Originally published in 1974.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Benjamin Barber was first invited to Camp David in 1994, along with other prominent members of the academic community, to participate in a "seminar" with President Clinton on the future of Democratic ideas and ideals. Afterwards, he became a steady informal adviser to the White House. For a politically committed professor like Barber, the opportunity was exhilarating—here was an opportunity to put ideas into action, to link ideas to power. The result was enlightening, if unexpected. The most unpredictable factor was the president himself: a man of astonishing intellectual gifts, a consummate listener and synthesizer of ideas, who nonetheless failed to present a stirring progressive vision or even to craft a memorable speech.
With great perceptiveness, wit, and élan, Barber provides a startling meditation on truth and power—and the truth of power, which is the responsibility of the elected not to an idea but to the electorate. He identifies the fault lines that future progressive candidates must straddle if they are to win—and the gift they must have, if they are to be great, of calling forth the best in their fellow citizens. In the end, Barber give us a unique portrait of our compelling and maddening ex-president, and the hopes and disillusionments he represents.