If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising by Benjamin R. Barber

By Benjamin R. Barber

Within the face of the main perilous demanding situations of our time—climate swap, terrorism, poverty, and trafficking of gear, weapons, and people—the countries of the area appear paralyzed. the issues are too tremendous, too interdependent, too divisive for the countryside. Is the countryside, as soon as democracy's top wish, this day democratically dysfunctional? out of date? the reply, says Benjamin Barber during this hugely provocative and unique booklet, is sure. towns and the mayors who run them can do and are doing a greater task. Barber cites the original characteristics towns world wide percentage: pragmatism, civic belief, participation, indifference to borders and sovereignty, and a democratic penchant for networking, creativity, innovation, and cooperation. He demonstrates how urban mayors, singly and together, are responding to transnational difficulties extra successfully than geographical regions mired in ideological infighting and sovereign rivalries. that includes profiles of a dozen mayors round the world—courageous, eccentric, or either at once—If Mayors governed the area offers a compelling new imaginative and prescient of governance for the arrival century. Barber makes a persuasive case that the town is democracy’s most sensible desire in a globalizing international, and nice mayors are already proving that this is often so.

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As Arcadia vanishes and pastoral villages are transformed into commercial towns and then dense capital metropolises that embody the best and worst of the Enlightenment, Rousseau sees faux diamonds encrusted on modernity’s fool’s-gold diadem. ”11 The very arts—above all theater—celebrated by cosmopolitan admirers of the city as its salvation, are to Rousseau the cause and manifestation of their downfall. WHY CITIES SHOULD GOVERN GLOBALLY 34 Yet Rousseau is no ranting iconoclast. Or if he is, he belongs to a vast conspiracy.

Bloomberg is enough of a conservative to have endorsed losing Massachusetts Republican incumbent Scott Brown over winning challenger Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 Senate race, though he putatively did so less because she was critical of Wall Street than because Brown had abandoned his party to support gun control legislation, a core element in Bloomberg’s cities’ agenda. For Bloomberg, issues like congestion, climate change, and gun control trump ideology, which is in part why he found a home in neither major party.

Inasmuch as the city portends freedom, our destiny in capital cities (the megacities of the eighteenth century) can only be a descent from grace, however much it feels like progress. To see in the Fall a happy ascent is, insists Rousseau, to throw garlands of flowers over our chains. As Arcadia vanishes and pastoral villages are transformed into commercial towns and then dense capital metropolises that embody the best and worst of the Enlightenment, Rousseau sees faux diamonds encrusted on modernity’s fool’s-gold diadem.

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