Monday, April 14, 2008

The Rise of Global Civil Society

This looks like an interesting book. I have added it to my Amazon wish list. (The bold is mine):

The Rise of Global Civil Society: Building Communities and Nations from the Bottom Up

Yet just below the surface, more hopeful trends are brewing. A new global awareness of the people at “the bottom of the pyramid” is summoning forth an unprecedented response to human need and suffering. It involves a shift from vertical to horizontal power that official aid agencies are only beginning to comprehend. Whereas twenty-five years ago, government aid accounted for 70 percent of all American outflows, today 85 percent of all outflows of resources come from private individuals, businesses, religious congregations, universities, and immigrant communities. If aid policy in the twentieth century relied on top-down bureaucracy dominated by policy specialists and elites, the twenty-first century is shaping up as an era in which citizens, social entrepreneurs, and volunteers link up to solve problems.



U.S. military and economic power are basic components of America’s presence in the world; but in an environment of rampant anti-Americanism, it is compassion that is America’s most consequential export. Civil society, once the distinctive characteristic of American democracy, is now advancing across the globe, carrying with it new forms of philanthropy, citizenship, and volunteerism. Tens of thousands of voluntary associations are prying open closed societies from within, solving problems in new ways, and forming the seedbed for a long-term cultivation of democratic norms.

The sentences I bolded above are an excellent description of what I have been championing as the "strategic citizen" and "citizen self-mobilization".

No comments: