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

Why you should listen

A passionate advocate of democracy’s power, Benjamin Barber explored bold solutions for dysfunctional systems and political paralysis. In his 2013 book If Mayors Ruled the World, he showed how decentralized local governments can be more flexible -- and more in tune with their constituents -- than their federal counterparts. The book led to the foundation of the Global Parliament of Mayors, a governance body of, by and for mayors from all continents. It builds on the experience, expertise and leadership of mayors in tackling local challenges resulting from global problems.

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

His newest book is Cool Cities: Urban Sovereignty and the Fix for Global Warming.

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

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Why cities rule the world

May 31, 2016

Cities are the the 21st century’s dominant form of civilization -- and they're where humanity's struggle for survival will take place. Robert Muggah and Ben Barber spell out the possibilities.

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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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