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.