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May 17

Past Event

Consumed by Capitalism

Event Materials


Political theorist Benjamin R. Barber argues in his new book, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole (W.W. Norton, 2007), 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.

Barber discussed 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.

This discussion was the fifth installment of the "Governing Ideas" series hosted by Brookings's Governance Studies program. The series intends to broaden the discussion of governance issues through forums on timely and relevant books on history, culture, legal norms and practices, values and religion.

Event Agenda

  • Featured Speaker

    • Benjamin R. Barber

      Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society, University of Maryland

  • Introduction and Moderator

  • Panelists

    • E.J. Dionne, Jr.

      Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

    • Will Wilkinson

      Policy Analyst, The Cato Institute


May 17, 2007

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Saul/Zilkha Room

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW


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SERIES: Governing Ideas | Number 5