Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cities are the source of civilization -- perhaps time to supersede nation-states?

Forward looking individuals are inviting the world’s mayors to collaborate on solving some of humanity’s most vexing problems – Benjamin Barber, Don Tapscott and Richard Florida – who believe that our times and circumstances require nothing less than a global parliament of mayors. This would be a voluntary network of elected municipal officials and others, managed by collaboration and consensus, to advocate for more effective urban policy. Cities, after all, are the birthplace of civilization, and hubs of innovation.

The Global Parliament of Mayors is an unprecedented new experiment in democratic global governance platform by, for, and of cities. Mayors from cities large and small, North and South, developed and emerging, will convene in September 2016 to identify and pursue in common the public goods of citizens around the world

Tapscott is best known for a series of successful business books touting the benefits of collaboration technology, chief among them the 2006 Wikinomics, while Florida is known for his theory of the “creative class”; and Barber has significant experience thinking through the dynamics of democratic governance.

At the Guardian:

We do in fact live in a post-Keynesian epoch – an era in which, for reasons both fiscal and nakedly ideological, most states have retreated from the provision of citizen services they used to undertake as a matter of course. Margaret Thatcher’s sweeping logic of privatisation has had such impact that even egalitarian Finns are now worried about losing their national health service.

Municipal administrators, by contrast – beset by rising waters, crumbling infrastructure and vulnerable populations – are forced to be practical, empirical, and far more immediately accessible to their restive and squabbling constituencies. They don’t enjoy the luxury of ideological posturing. Anyone interested in pragmatic, sleeves-up responses to the various crises that afflict us might therefore be well-advised to look to them for insight.

See this site for more about the Parliament of Mayors

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