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Barber returns to the clashing models of civilization of his earlier Jihad vs. McWorld, focusing this time on the expanding global culture of market forces he claims will destory not only democracy but even capitalism, if left unchecked. He warns of a totalitarian "ethos of induced childishness" that not only seeks to turn the young into aggressive consumers but to arrest the psychological development of adults as well, "freeing" them to indulge in puerile and narcissistic purchases based on "stupid" brand loyalties. The increasing drive toward privatization compounds the problem, generating a "civic schizophrenia" where everybody wants service but nobody wants to serve. His complaint is so broad that it occasionally edges into crankiness, as he blames infantilization for ruining everything from Hollywood movies to NBA basketball; even other liberal cultural commentators, especially Steven Johnson (Everything Bad Is Good for You), come in for much criticism. Barber recognizes that the "Jihadist" rejection of consumer culture is equally undemocratic, but still believes the system can be changed from within, citing the corporate responsibility movement and activist boycotts. His dense analysis can be a tough slog in spots, but the provocative attacks on capitalism's excesses will resonate with many. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Barber, the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland, has devoted much of his life to the study of the effects of the consumer market on individuals and society as a whole. His hypothesis that consumer culture has turned adult citizens into children by catering to the lowest common denominator rings only too true, even if the sheer density and obsequiousness of this examination are likely to turn off much of the popular readership. Therein lies the conundrum of reviewing this impressive piece of work, wherein Barber proves his theory that the market imperative has conditioned us to lap up the easy offerings and reject hard, complicated works. This lifelong study of the effects of capitalism and privatization reveals a pervasiveness of branding and homogenization from which there is seemingly no turning back. With the call to arms of grassroots resistance, he does offer a glimmer of hope; despite the heavy weight, Barber's work deserves and surely will find its audience. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Having been in the business field for over 40 years and seeing firsthand the rise of egregious consumption and the shameless advertising that fuels it, Benjamin Barber has very... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Philip Fennell
Perhaps, if you majored in the High Level Vocabulary department at English University, you'd have an easier time reading this book. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Nate
I can't get beyond the first 5 pages of the book. The author sounds so pretentious and ridiculous it pulls from the content. Example: "... Read morePublished 12 months ago by aelicia
Eye opening treatise that exposes consumer capitalism for what it is and offers solutions. Will never look at business the same.Published 14 months ago by Steve Rose
This is a well-researched book with an ambitious scope, trying to cover how marketing shapes and replaces our identities and our cultures. Read morePublished 20 months ago by bluemoose
Informative but repetitive and really if you've read one of Barber's books you've heard all of what's in this one before. If it's your first read then you may find it interesting. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Miaa
My husband & I have read through this book together once already, and it was so good and insightful, we've decided to read through it again, just to remind ourselves of all the... Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by Karen511
This is a good enough copy of a book that I expected a little more of. I was hoping for something that would grab my attention the way Malcolm Gladwell does.Published on August 5, 2013 by TeePee