Should mayors rule the world?

Political theorist Dr. Benjamin Barber thinks so. In his most recent book, If Mayors Ruled The World, Dr. Barber argues that our globally interdependent world calls for more empowered local government.

"Inequality is our foremost problem," Dr. Benjamin Barber says in an interview with Commonomics partner GRITtv. "But here is the great paradox that mayors and cities face: inequality in the city is the consequence of causes over which cities have no control."

Dr. Barber suggests a "Parliament of Mayors" to discuss global issues, much like the current United Cities and Local Governments organization that brings 3,000 cities together from across the world to discuss urban problems that have global roots.

Chokwe Lumumba photo by Natalie Maynor
Chokwe Lumumba

In our increasingly interdependent world, where shared problems demand shared solutions and corporations have absconded with much of our democracy, Dr. Barber argues that mayors may be more motivated to collaborate and possibly more capable than our national governments of effectively working across borders.

"Every challenge that we face, whether it is climate change, terrorism or the global financial market, is global. But the institutions that address these interdependent problems are independent nation states," says Dr. Barber. "The city is the solution."

For how grassroots organizers can affect mayors, watch Laura Flanders' interview with Ana Maria Archila on holding Bill de Blasio accountable.

Laura Flanders headshotLaura Flanders is YES! Magazine's Local Economies Reporting Fellow and is executive producer and founder and host of "GRITtv with Laura Flanders." Follow her on Twitter @GRITlaura.

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