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If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities

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If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the face of the most perilous challenges of our time—climate change, terrorism, poverty, and trafficking of drugs, guns, and people—the nations of the world seem paralyzed. The problems are too big, too interdependent, too divisive for the nation-state. Is the nation-state, once democracy's best hope, today democratically dysfunctional? Obsolete? The answer, says Benjamin Barber in this highly provocative and original book, is yes. Cities and the mayors who run them can do and are doing a better job.
 
Barber cites the unique qualities cities worldwide share: pragmatism, civic trust, participation, indifference to borders and sovereignty, and a democratic penchant for networking, creativity, innovation, and cooperation. He demonstrates how city mayors, singly and jointly, are responding to transnational problems more effectively than nation-states mired in ideological infighting and sovereign rivalries. Featuring profiles of a dozen mayors around the world—courageous, eccentric, or both at once—If Mayors Ruled the World presents a compelling new vision of governance for the coming century. Barber makes a persuasive case that the city is democracys best hope in a globalizing world, and great mayors are already proving that this is so.

Review:

"In an impassioned love letter to cities and their political leaders, Barber (Jihad vs. McWorld) celebrates the diversity and ferment that embody urban life. Modern cities, he claims, fulfill the promises of John Dewey and Walt Whitman's paeans to democracy by allowing 'democratic voices, ardent dreamers and lawless artists' to inspire each other. It is not always clear how mayors fit into this tumult of roiling humanity, but Barber calls them 'possibly the best hope we have for the survival of democracy across borders.' By focusing on practical solutions to the day-to-day problems that affect their constituents, mayors champion a mode of governance characterized by collaboration and consensus, and the global ties they create offer a more human-centered, applied style of politics than the contentiousness of national legislatures or the bureaucratic talking shops of the U.N. and European Union, according to the author. Barber is more interested in crafting a metaphysics of urban life than the down-to-earth minutiae of local stewardship (he derides congestion pricing schemes, markedly successful in many cities, as 'keeping-the-poor-from-driving plan' without offering any realistic alternative), and in the throes of his 'longing for and expectation of an interdependent urbanity as encompassing as humanity's perfervid imagination,' he neglects to notice that many of his castles are planted firmly in the air. Agent: Steve Wasserman, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Can cities solve the biggest problems of the twenty-first century better than nations? Is the city democracys best hope?

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About the Author

Benjamin R. Barber is senior research scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, the Graduate Center, the City University of New York. He is also president and founder of the Interdependence Movement and the author of seventeen books, including Jihad vs. McWorld and Strong Democracy. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780300164671
Author:
Barber, Benjamin R
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Author:
Barber, Benjamin R.
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Politics | International Studies
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20131131
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 b/w illus.
Pages:
472
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities New Hardcover
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Product details 472 pages Yale University Press - English 9780300164671 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In an impassioned love letter to cities and their political leaders, Barber (Jihad vs. McWorld) celebrates the diversity and ferment that embody urban life. Modern cities, he claims, fulfill the promises of John Dewey and Walt Whitman's paeans to democracy by allowing 'democratic voices, ardent dreamers and lawless artists' to inspire each other. It is not always clear how mayors fit into this tumult of roiling humanity, but Barber calls them 'possibly the best hope we have for the survival of democracy across borders.' By focusing on practical solutions to the day-to-day problems that affect their constituents, mayors champion a mode of governance characterized by collaboration and consensus, and the global ties they create offer a more human-centered, applied style of politics than the contentiousness of national legislatures or the bureaucratic talking shops of the U.N. and European Union, according to the author. Barber is more interested in crafting a metaphysics of urban life than the down-to-earth minutiae of local stewardship (he derides congestion pricing schemes, markedly successful in many cities, as 'keeping-the-poor-from-driving plan' without offering any realistic alternative), and in the throes of his 'longing for and expectation of an interdependent urbanity as encompassing as humanity's perfervid imagination,' he neglects to notice that many of his castles are planted firmly in the air. Agent: Steve Wasserman, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
Can cities solve the biggest problems of the twenty-first century better than nations? Is the city democracys best hope?
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