Benjamin Barber believes that the future of the world may lie with the politicians who implement practical change every day: mayors.

Why you should listen

Benjamin Barber burst into the media spotlight on September 11, 2001, when his book Jihad Vs. McWorld, published several years earlier, assumed newly horrific relevance. With his prophetic analysis of the emerging collision of tribalism and globalism, Barber established the parameters for 21st Century political debate.

A passionate advocate of democracy’s power, Barber continues to explore solutions for dysfunctional systems and political paralysis. In his forthcoming new work What if Mayors Ruled the World, Barber plans to show how decentralized local governments can be more flexible - and more in tune with their constituents - than their federal counterparts.

What others say

“He is one of a small breed of scholars who strive to be “public intellectuals.” He is powered by ideas and discussion, by the rough-and-tumble of vigorous debate.” — Washington Post

Benjamin Barber’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Benjamin Barber


Benjamin Barber’s idea of a Global Parliament of Mayors to become reality in September

May 13, 2016

In the face of global crises like climate change and refugee migration, it seems sometimes that nation-states are hopelessly gridlocked and unable to act. At TEDGlobal 2013, political theorist Benjamin Barber laid out a counter-proposal: Go local. Big cities are demonstrating a remarkable capacity to govern themselves democratically and efficiently in networks, both locally and […]

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Global Issues

Why mayors have more chance of saving the world than global leaders do

September 20, 2013

The challenges we face in the 21st century are global in nature. Yet it often seems like we are woefully ill-equipped to address issues such as poverty, violence, security or public health with our large-scale political institutions. In this bold talk, Benjamin Barber suggests that we should transition away from nation states towards a system […]

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Live from TEDGlobal

Why mayors should rule the world: Benjamin Barber at TEDGlobal 2013

June 13, 2013

“Democracy is in trouble,” announces political theorist Benjamin Barber as he makes his way onto the TEDGlobal stage. He continues: “We live in a  21st-century world of interdependence and brutal interdependent problems. Yet when we look for solutions in politics and democracy, we are faced with political institutions designed 400 years ago.” What can one do […]

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