By On Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 Categories : Review

Your focus of political theorist Benjamin Barber’s scholarship may be democratic civic engagement both in the us and globally, and dangers to meaningful participation by simply citizens in self-governance. In addition to his scholarship, Barber has been a public voice for democratic ideals and served just as one informal consultant to Leader Bill Clinton, with his experiences and reflections providing the cornerstone for his most recent book The reality of Power: Intellectual Affairs inside the Clinton White House (2008). Barber’s likes and dislikes are both academic along with practical, which is reflected in his writings cover anything from democratic theory at the greater conceptual and theoretical level, to issues of implementation at the quality of democratic practice.
In his or her earlier published work Barber advocated “strong democracy, ” a democratic governance resting on the civic engagement of a lively, informed citizenry who realize the favorable of participatory politics. This conception of an liberal democratic industrialized contemporary society provided a counterpoise into a liberalism overly focused on the individual’s rights and this representation of interests. Barber’s primary work that tackled issues of globalization, Jihad as opposed to. McWorld, first published throughout 1995, gained him each fame and notoriety, with all the second edition including his or her reflections on 9/11, which seemed to embody Jihad’s war against McWorld also to suggest that McWorld’s worldwide triumph was premature (2001). Barber uses “jihad” to refer besides to Islamic jihad, but in addition to refer to reactionary, militant religious fundamentalism in general, which he views as tribalism’s strongest response to global integration along with modernization. “McWorld” refers to this unbridled march of globalization without benefit of an effective political envelope and such as an aggressive economic along with cultural integration that principally reflects the corporate interests of the industrialized Western world. Jihad reflects a cultural fundamentalism, of which religion is definitely an important arena and advancing the source is an all-or-nothing gambit, while McWorld reflects some sort of cultural monism or flattening from the world’s pluralism across all spheres facilitated with the advance of Western-style capitalism and related phenomena like privatization of a common public sphere, neoliberalism, along with consumerism, which are unconcerned with cultural diversity apart from the business opportunities it may provide. Both of these the other forces have significant political consequences by themselves and together, Barber argues, they are often resisted only through this resurgence of democracy. Additional democratic self-governance, especially for the local level, is what is needed even were this threat posed by militant terrorism to fade because of the global asymmetry witout a doubt fashioned by McWorld between the global North and Southern, the latter lacking this economic might or political stability to resist except through a return to tribalism along with jihad. Jihad vs. McWorld ranks with Samuel Huntington’s Your Clash of Civilizations just as one early, popular overview from the emerging organization of the planet at the global level. Barber’s work, however, was not intended in order to attribute civilizational significance towards the division of the world he elaborated when it comes to a normative ranking from the two sides; rather, his animating concern is the fundamentalism the primary focus of both sides, some sort of religious vs. market fundamentalism which have been both inimical to democratic governance, to regulate by citizens of the planet around them. Barber’s book Consumed (2007) sharpens the focus of awareness of the contemporary state from the democratic citizenry, who, in the face of the globalization of just what he earlier termed “McWorld, ” have become more adept at staying consumers than citizens.
Barber remnants an evolution from previously production-oriented capitalism to contemporary consumption-oriented capitalism, and is highly critical from the values and habits of mind engendered by consumerism and the harms to democracy and the exercise of freedom which he sees corroding the cloth of civil society. He argues that the contemporary practice of free market capitalism “infantilizes” parents who substitute their wants for his or her needs, and have been rendered struggle to distinguish a public interest from the pursuit of their individual preferences. The ultimate victim here is the public-spirited citizen who may be conditioned to realize their own freedom mostly as some sort of consumer making generally trivial choices available, a highly shrunken understanding and practice of independence that bodes badly money of liberal democracy. Barber’s strategy to this entrenched, debilitating situation throughout most of the planet is a reinvigorated social life, the democratization of globalization from the ground up to redirect it toward meeting people’s authentic needs including, importantly, a ought to participate meaningfully in selfgovernance along with together achieve a benefit that transcends the proximate satisfactions of consumer society.