The Long Now Foundation presents Benjamin Barber: If Mayors Ruled the World. Democracy began in cities and works best in cities. Mayors are the most pragmatic and effective of all political leaders because they have to get things done. “The paramount aims of city-dwellers,” says Barber, “concern collecting garbage and collecting art rather than collecting votes or collecting foreign allies, the supply of water rather than the supply of arms, promoting cooperation rather than promoting exceptionalism, fostering education and culture rather than fostering national defense and patriotism.“Most of humanity now lives in cities, and cities worldwide connect with each other more readily than any other political entity. By expanding on that capability, Barber suggests, “Cities can make themselves global guarantors of social justice and equality against the depredations of fractious states. And they can become, as the polis once was, new incubators of democracy, this time in a global form.“A much-honored political theorist, Barber is author of Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism, and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World."
Benjamin R. Barber is a Senior Research Scholar at The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society of The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, the President and Founder of the Interdependence Movement, and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Rutgers University. An internationally renowned political theorist, Dr. Barber brings an abiding concern for democracy and citizenship to issues of politics, globalization, culture and education in America and abroad. He consults regularly with political and civic leaders in the U.S. (President Clinton, Howard Dean) and around the world (Germany, U.K., Libya, Italy).