Attn DC Reasonoids: Be Consumed by Capitalism, May 17

|

When we see politics permeate every sector of life, we call it totalitarianism. When religion rules all, we call it theocracy. But when commerce dominates everything, we call it liberty.

The world teems with elemental wants and is peopled by billions who are needy. They do not need iPods, but they do need potable water, not colas but inexpensive medicines, not MTV but their ABCs.

Who is that prose poet, that literary scion, that philosopher king? Why, it's Benjamin Barber, author of Jihad vs. McWorld and most recently Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. Come see who gets swallowed whole when Barber debates reason contributor Will Wilkinson tomorrow at Brookings:

Political theorist Benjamin R. Barber argues in his new book…that capitalism has generated a culture that idealizes youth and is obsessed with consumption. This over- commercialization of our culture, Barber contends, poses a serious threat to democracy and civilized society.

On May 17, Barber will discuss Consumed with Will Wilkinson of the Cato Institute and Brookings senior fellow E.J. Dionne, Jr. Wilkinson is the managing editor of Cato Unbound, which engages experts and the public in contemplating big-picture societal concerns; Dionne has written extensively on civic engagement and civil society. William A. Galston, Brookings senior fellow, will moderate the discussion.

Details here.

Read reason on Barber-ism here and here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Colombia the Model

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’d like to announce my new book, Subsumed: How Governments Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

    When did we become such cowards? Liberty is too scary. Choice is too scary.

    Living is too scary.

  2. But when commerce dominates everything, we call it liberty.

    Why, yes, yes we do.

    Try this;

    But when

  3. “But when commerce dominates everything, we call it liberty…”

    This seems like a rather frank admission that what people want to do is engage in commerce. Apparently what people “want” is a wrong that must be corrected.

    ProLibertate: Can I write a chapter in your book on shock jocks?

  4. But when commerce dominates everything, we call it liberty.

    Why, yes, yes we do.

    Try this:

    But when commercethe free exchange of goods and services dominates everything, we call it liberty.

    And why wouldn’t we?

  5. Lamar,

    Certainly. I like collaborative efforts that involve no decision-making on my part. It’s too scary on my own, to tell the truth. If only some person or entity would make all of my choices for me.

    Excuse me while I cower in the corner.

  6. “Why, it’s Benjamin Barber, author of Jihad vs. McWorld and most recently Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.”

    Just proves once more that no screed against capitalism is complete without invoking “The Children ™”.

  7. But when frightened Fredricks get published but go unread, we call it liberty.

  8. There are other solutions to the problem of The Children?:

    Dr. Munro: My studies have established without a doubt that children are, by adult standards, insane!
    Johnny: And that’s bad?
    Dr. Munro: Well, sure!
    Johnny: So what should we do about it?
    Dr. Munro: Round the little guttersnipes up!

  9. But when fear dominates everything, we call it the nanny state.

  10. But when aesthetic judgments go disguised as serious analysis, we call it sociology.

  11. Can’t we just tell him we don’t live in a democracy and the world has never been very civilized?

  12. At Urkobold, we call such people “bibertarians“:

    “Fight for your biberty, my brothers and sisters! You have nothing to lose but your hassles!”

  13. Totalitarian governments fail because the people lack the will to power.

    Wait, sorry, just had a flash of megalomania. I’m okay now.

  14. I’d like to see a video of this if anyone will be recording it.

  15. I love it when people assume that we should apologize for owning an iPod; for some reason it’s become the lightening rod for all anti-consumerism.

  16. *passes ProGLib the bottle.

    It’s okay. It’s okay. Your posse is hier. It’s okay now. Mr. Steven Crane will use his spear and magic helmet!

  17. VM,

    I was okay until “O Fortuna” started playing in my head.

  18. Our capitalism chops are fine, well tuned even. What’s suffering is our morality. What’s funny is that we’ll throw capitalism overboard long before we’ll admit that our hubris stained morality is what’s getting us into trouble.

    Sing along:

    A fork is a cold shiny tool

    To pierce, tear and ingest

    Whoever has the fork in hand

    Controls the meal of its choice

  19. Yoo mean…

    zis?

    bobohahahahahahahahaha!

    *fades away **thud** dammit. who put that there. dammit. Norbert! Was that you.

    looks up.

    um.

    *fades away.

  20. Why, yes, yes I do mean Orff’s Carmina Burana.

    Not that version, though. My totalitarian fantasies are more operatic in scope.

  21. Yes. What I like about that song is its sunny optimism and total lack of nihilism.

  22. I love it when people assume that we should apologize for owning an iPod; for some reason it’s become the lightening rod for all anti-consumerism.

    Really?!?!

    Crap, i have been using the iPod as a symbol of why free commerce is great..

    In fact the iPod is a perfect example of how the free exchange of good and services makes us all more equal…

    A $120 iPod still costs $120 no matter if you are a garbage man or if you are Bill Gates. And to spend more on one does not give you any advantage in utility….it just mean you spent to much.

  23. When we see politics permeate every sector of life, we call it totalitarianism. When religion rules all, we call it theocracy. But when commerce dominates everything, we call it liberty.

    The world teems with elemental wants and is peopled by billions who are needy. They do not need iPods, but they do need potable water, not colas but inexpensive medicines, not MTV but their ABCs.

    And a large part of the reason that those people are needy are due to those first two conditions. The solution is more of the latter.

    Remember the Red iPod campaign which sends a portion of the proceeds to AIDS in Africa? Kinda hokey but still probably more effective than sending yet more aid money to fill the coffers of people like Mugabe.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.