- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial - GB; New edition (28 April 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780007150434
- ISBN-13: 978-0007150434
- ASIN: 0007150431
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 200 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Age of Consent: A Manifesto For A New World Order Paperback – 28 Apr 2004
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'A bracing challenge to the complacency of all varieties of establishment thinking. Argues powerfully that protest is not enough. An arresting contribution to new thinking.' Independent
‘A book that must be engaged with. A simple and revolutionary Manifesto, a weighty political vision. At last, the global justice movement has found a vision as expansive and planet-wide as that of the US neoconservatives. Let the battle of ideas commence.' Independent on Sunday
'An extremely important book. A searchingly rigorous analysis of the sources of American power. Monbiot presents a package of proposals that would radically redraw the present world order. It is breathtaking in its radicalism, but for anyone who is serious about tackling the current US hegemony, it is difficult to fault the logic. This is not a whinge, but a very well argued statement of a positive alternative agenda. And if it is far too radical for some tastes, can they suggest any lesser options that will produce the same vast improvement in world justice and prosperity? The floor is theirs.' Michael Meacher, Guardian
About the Author
George Monbiot is the author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: a Manifesto for a New World Order, Captive State: the Corporate Takeover of Britain (Macmillan 2000) and Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning (Allen Lane 2006); as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper.
During seven years of investigative journeys in Indonesia, Brazil and East Africa, he was shot at, beaten up by military police, shipwrecked and stung into a poisoned coma by hornets. He came back to work in Britain after being pronounced clinically dead in Lodwar General Hospital in north-western Kenya, having contracted cerebral malaria.
In Britain, he joined the roads protest movement. He was hospitalised by security guards, who drove a metal spike through his foot, smashing the middle bone. He helped to found ‘The Land is Ours’, which has occupied land all over the country, including thirteen acres of prime real estate in Wandsworth belonging to a corporation and destined for a giant superstore. The protesters beat the corporation in court, built an eco-village and held onto the land for six months.
He has held visiting fellowships or professorships at the universities of Oxford (environmental policy), Bristol (philosophy), Keele (politics) and East London (environmental science). He is currently visiting professor of planning at Oxford Brookes University. In 1995 Nelson Mandela presented him with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement. In summer 2007 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Essex and an honorary fellowship by Cardiff University.
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On one level Mr. Monbiot's proposals are just another pie-in-the-sky Utopian vision. Some visions are more realistic than others in terms of accommodating the reality of realpolitik as it is now practiced on Earth. As such things go, this would be one of the more realistic proposals because it attempts to find paths to its fulfillment that accommodate the anarchy in the present world order amidst the present domination of so-called "sovereign" nation-states. There is nothing ignoble or hypocritical about Mr. Monbiot's proposals themselves. There does seem to be some naivete concerning the relation between peoples and their governments. There is a lot of over-simplification here, but to the author's credit he acknowledges this and leaves room in the specifics to accommodate necessary adjustments as need for them arises.
Even where "elections" take place, the vast majority of nations on Earth (perhaps none at all) are democratic in any full sense. In today's world, the legislative and executive institutions of even the longest lived and best established "democracies" have been more-of-less fully captured by corporate interests. Being the "people's representative" is, with few exceptions on specific issues, nothing but lip-service in today's nations. There is no nation on Earth today, rich or poor, whose elites could not and would not block even the bare beginnings of the change needed to bring this [quite obviously fairer] order about. Monbiot explicitly recognizes this. I give him credit for that too.
As hopelessly unlikely as it is that any of Monbiot's proposals will ever bear fruit, I applaud him for recognizing the difficulties and his attempt in this "manifesto for a new world-order" to thread his way through those difficulties to concrete steps designed to bring about the new system by increments, the only way it could possibly take place if it is to be brought about at all.
The proposals themselves are well delineated. Most of them are not brand new novel ideas but adaptations of brilliant economic ideas from brilliant economists of past decades. Monbiot does an excellent job of integrating these into his over-all program. In doing this he also well illustrates the inconsistencies and out-right contradictions of the present capitalist order not to mention the social, economic, and political dangers of the present international anarchy. This is the best, clearest, characterization of global-capitalist malfeasance I have yet read.
In his last chapter Monbiot exhorts us to action, but now sixteen years on, I know that he knows the unavoidable consequences of our continued failure to bring about any meaningful reform of the "international system" are rushing upon us faster than ever.
The author quotes his sources extensively but I feel that he could have drlled down deeper in many instances where another author is his source. Nevertheless, there are many disturbing facts in this book which should make readers aware of problems that they may not have previously considered. His analysis of the effect (and the effectiveness) of the IMF and the World Bank is very interesting and well worth reading.
A major weakness of this book is the author's failure to address the effect of incentives on human behaviour. To a degree he does cover incentives for nations to behave in a manner which benefits the world and I believe that this also will contribute significantly to the debate. However, many of the great breakthroughs and inventions of the world, which have had a huge impact on living standards and longevity, have resulted due to the financial rewards flowing from such discoveries.
George Monbiot is to be congratulated for having the gumption to challenge current assumptions about democracy and economies and to put forward ideas that might help to make the world fairer and safer. I recommend his book highly to persons interested in achieving those goals.