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Naomi Klein's No Logo told us what was wrong. Now, George Monbiot shows us how to put it right. Provocative, brave and beautifully argued, The Age of Consent is nothing less than a manifesto for a new world order. Our task is not to overthrow globalisation, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global democratic revolution. All over our planet, Naomi Klein's ‘No Logo’ told us what was wrong. Now, George Monbiot shows us how to put it right. Provocative, brave and beautifully argued, ‘The Age of Consent’ is nothing less than a manifesto for a new world order. ‘Our task is not to overthrow globalisation, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global democratic revolution.’ All over our planet, the rich get richer while the poor are overtaken by debt and disaster. The world is run not by its people but by a handful of unelected or underelected executives who make the decisions on which everyone else depends: concerning war, peace, debt, development and the balance of trade. Without democracy at the global level, the rest of us are left with no means of influencing these men but to shout abuse and hurl ourselves at the lines of police defending their gatherings and decisions. Does it have to be this way? George Monbiot knows not only that things ought to change, but also that they can change. Drawing on decades of thinking about how the world is organized and administered politically, fiscally and commercially, Monbiot has developed an interlocking set of proposals all his own, which attempts nothing less than a revolution in the way the world is run. If these proposals become popular, never again will people be able to ask of the critics of the existing world order, ‘we know what they don't want, but what do they want?’ Fiercely controversial and yet utterly persuasive, the ingenious solutions Monbiot suggests for some of the planet's most pressing problems mark him as perhaps the most realistic utopian of our time and a man whose passion is infectious and whose ideas, many will surely come to agree, are becoming irresistible.


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Naomi Klein's No Logo told us what was wrong. Now, George Monbiot shows us how to put it right. Provocative, brave and beautifully argued, The Age of Consent is nothing less than a manifesto for a new world order. Our task is not to overthrow globalisation, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global democratic revolution. All over our planet, Naomi Klein's ‘No Logo’ told us what was wrong. Now, George Monbiot shows us how to put it right. Provocative, brave and beautifully argued, ‘The Age of Consent’ is nothing less than a manifesto for a new world order. ‘Our task is not to overthrow globalisation, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global democratic revolution.’ All over our planet, the rich get richer while the poor are overtaken by debt and disaster. The world is run not by its people but by a handful of unelected or underelected executives who make the decisions on which everyone else depends: concerning war, peace, debt, development and the balance of trade. Without democracy at the global level, the rest of us are left with no means of influencing these men but to shout abuse and hurl ourselves at the lines of police defending their gatherings and decisions. Does it have to be this way? George Monbiot knows not only that things ought to change, but also that they can change. Drawing on decades of thinking about how the world is organized and administered politically, fiscally and commercially, Monbiot has developed an interlocking set of proposals all his own, which attempts nothing less than a revolution in the way the world is run. If these proposals become popular, never again will people be able to ask of the critics of the existing world order, ‘we know what they don't want, but what do they want?’ Fiercely controversial and yet utterly persuasive, the ingenious solutions Monbiot suggests for some of the planet's most pressing problems mark him as perhaps the most realistic utopian of our time and a man whose passion is infectious and whose ideas, many will surely come to agree, are becoming irresistible.

30 review for The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order

  1. 4 out of 5

    Huyen

    Does it make any sense that a massive country like India and a tiny Andorra have the same say in the UN? Does it make any sense that the US can overturn any IMF and WB proposal merely due to their financial contribution? Even a retarded pumpkin can say obviously not. Many have argued that the UN is an unreformable anachronistic organization that really has not done much good, or maybe was not supposed to serve a noble cause at all in the first place. The people who are most affected have the Does it make any sense that a massive country like India and a tiny Andorra have the same say in the UN? Does it make any sense that the US can overturn any IMF and WB proposal merely due to their financial contribution? Even a retarded pumpkin can say obviously not. Many have argued that the UN is an unreformable anachronistic organization that really has not done much good, or maybe was not supposed to serve a noble cause at all in the first place. The people who are most affected have the least say, and some stupid superpowers can block anything that’s not to their taste. I think I agree with him: the UN might be imperfect, but the absence of it would be even worse, but it needs to be reformed. Many proposals have been hovering around and most of them seem some sort of a different kind of domination to me. Monbiot has a far more radical reform in mind. So here are his basic proposals: - a population-based world parliament with one representative for every 10 million people, regardless of their nationality. No single nation-state or group will have veto power - anyone can put forth a proposal and a poll will be taken among a random sample of people. If it’s ok, then we’ll have a world election - naturally, non-democracies hate elections so the exile constituencies will have the vote - this world parliament must put a limit on maximum donations to prevent domination of one group over others This world parliament can ensure more democratic and transparent processes not dominated by a few big butts. You might think India and China will swallow the world but why on earth do you think a Chinese living in Tibet will have an identical opinion as one living in Shanghai? But this diversity can only be secured if polls are run by accountable civil society organizations and not influenced by state propaganda. And the scenario that one state bribes/ threatens others to get a resolution passed is more unlikely than we only have a security council. this model sounds like wonderful unrealistic lefty fantasy, but I think it raises a lot of problems that I wish he had elaborated on: - most people LOVE the idea of national sovereignty, combining people from different countries might be very problematic - what’s the incentive for the big powers to do this? What’s the incentive for dictatorships to do this? - Where does the enforcement power come from? Sanctions? Military intervention? Cut of aid? - How do we make sure the state doesn’t muddle up public opinion by propaganda? - For regions uncovered by the internet, what is the best way to communicate and collect public opinion For me, the best thing about this book is how he elicits a very intelligent critique of anarchism, which used to appeal to him intellectually. Many of our problems today like global warming or trade equity can’t be solved without a collaborative effort. And history proves that any sort of order, no matter how repressive, is much better than constant violence and anarchy. (look at Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leon or Afghanistan). Democracy, although a flawed system, also ensures individual freedom and puts a check on the powerful and wealthy. Anarchism would only work if suddenly all states disappeared AT THE SAME TIME, but who can be sure the strong won’t dominate over the weak? So Monbiot’s solution is a nice combination of breakdown of nations and grassroot democracy. Generally, I’m in favor of his model but we certainly have a long way to go.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hebden

    Rather than being a book about teenage promiscuity, the subtitle of this book is A Manifesto for a New World Order. As with many books of this nature it begins by trying to shock the reader, claiming that Marx was wrong, and Marx laid the blueprint for Stalinist tyranny in the Communist Manifesto. Despite this the author then goes on to explain his own manifesto which confirms many of the things Marx spoke of, such as egalitarianism and the withering away of the nation state. However, this was Rather than being a book about teenage promiscuity, the subtitle of this book is “A Manifesto for a New World Order”. As with many books of this nature it begins by trying to shock the reader, claiming that “Marx was wrong”, and “Marx laid the blueprint for Stalinist tyranny in the Communist Manifesto”. Despite this the author then goes on to explain his own manifesto which confirms many of the things Marx spoke of, such as egalitarianism and the withering away of the nation state. However, this was not a dissection of Marxist philosophy and so should not be viewed as one in the summing up. There are some fantastic ideas here to foment revolution to bring the poor and rich closer together, financially, geographically and metaphysically. Not least a World Parliament without assumption on elected officials. No presumption is given to which way people will vote, but the essential point is that democracy should be the driving force between any real change in global governance. As it is today, the distorted voting that goes on in the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and The UN Security Council among many others, are blatantly loaded in favour of the rich, developed mainly Western nations by whom these bodies were created. There is an interesting chapter rescuing Keynes from Keynesian thought and the Bretton Woods process and some sterling propositions on financial security which proves that capitalism as it stands and was created will eventually destroy itself (written before the crash of 2008/09). One of the most thought provoking areas of the book was the current trend towards coercion by the IMF towards third world countries to liberalise their economies to provide growth and national prosperity. Monbiot goes on to prove that almost all the rich nations grew their economies through violent protectionism and only sought to liberalise their own economies once completely they were completely secure. The nature of liberalisation in the modern vernacular is to strip a country of national wealth and resources, giving them to private companies based overseas, who themselves as independent of the nation states in which they are based, continue an uninterrupted localised protectionism. Things must change, and Monbiot bemoans the emotions he stirs at the end of the book. Far from want us to think things should change, the author wants us to do something to change things, to involve ourselves in change and immerse ourselves in his manifesto alongside other forms of activism and to do something, try and make a difference and attempt to make the world a fairer place. If we think alone, nothing happens.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ron Joniak

    As usual, George Monbiot's excellent writing style produces a great critical analysis of the current system and potential future systems. What I found most interesting in this Manifesto was Monbiot's critical analysis of Anarchism and the details involving the IMF and world banks. This is a good read for anyone as it reads fast. Unfortunately, I did not feel strong enough about the proposed solutions, don't get me wrong, I think they are all decent/good and better than what is currently in As usual, George Monbiot's excellent writing style produces a great critical analysis of the current system and potential future systems. What I found most interesting in this Manifesto was Monbiot's critical analysis of Anarchism and the details involving the IMF and world banks. This is a good read for anyone as it reads fast. Unfortunately, I did not feel strong enough about the proposed solutions, don't get me wrong, I think they are all decent/good and better than what is currently in place, I just don't see them as fathomable. I really enjoy reading Monbiot's work as he has a sense of optimism that I have lost. Cheers!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    This is a very strange product. A large hardcover book which is supposed to be 'a manifesto'. Weird. The text is long. Unnecessarily long. With many parts of preaching or useless explanations which simply fog the text. On a second thought this is probably why the book gets such high ratings: the few ideas are spaced enough to forget what the point was. I don't recall to have seen a book that needs footnotes to the footnotes! The key parts are strangely explained. See page 90. A global election is This is a very strange product. A large hardcover book which is supposed to be 'a manifesto'. Weird. The text is long. Unnecessarily long. With many parts of preaching or useless explanations which simply fog the text. On a second thought this is probably why the book gets such high ratings: the few ideas are spaced enough to forget what the point was. I don't recall to have seen a book that needs footnotes to the footnotes! The key parts are strangely explained. See page 90. A global election is estimated at 5 billion dollars. The shallow reader is already missing the point and is content with the clear and precise number. Only it is not a clear and precise number. Is it Australian, Canadian, Hong Kong dollars? After all, the author is a Briton. Never mind. Let's say it is about Australian rather than Canadian dollars. Are they bigger than the British Pound or are they just a tenth? Never mind. How can the journalistic mind reach such a sum? Previous experience? Impossible! But there is a footnote. Five poor nations. Why those five? Never mind. And two rich nations. Why just two? Why those two? Is it because they both have dollars? But in Australia they do not use the same dollar as in the States. Weird. Never mind. Oops! A footnote to the footnote. Never mind. The author magically reaches a 6.46 magical number. Which he himself devalues to a precise 5 though magic again. Why 5 and not 4? Why 5 and not 15 because of war, corruption and broken logistics? Never mind. 5. Rereading this I was seeing the machine in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy giving 42 as an answer. Only the Hitchhiker's was a satire and this lunatic book is supposed to be leading to some sort of solution. Why was this book ever written? Glory and lunacy probably, as the author seems to be aware that governments having power over a large populations are a bad idea. He writes about it. But somehow Monbiot's patchy project could be so much better. Weird text.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vib Pande

    The excitement curve while reading this book started well, then sagged in the middle, to pick up again towards the ending. That makes for an average read, or to me the best it could be. I am thankful to the author for making me aware of strongly tied global politics and economics, aspects I'd heard laments about, but never come close to reading much about. Also thankful for the induced exploratory attitude - into John Keynes (and Keynesian economics), Michel Houellebecq, Jose Bove, Free trade, The excitement curve while reading this book started well, then sagged in the middle, to pick up again towards the ending. That makes for an average read, or to me the best it could be. I am thankful to the author for making me aware of strongly tied global politics and economics, aspects I'd heard laments about, but never come close to reading much about. Also thankful for the induced exploratory attitude - into John Keynes (and Keynesian economics), Michel Houellebecq, Jose Bove, Free trade, etc. Some of the arguments aren't well presented, and their resolution is generally crude. This irked me often. The contingencies and consequentialities are summed up in a line or two, which felt that the author wants to sweep much that is conflicting under the rug of ignorance, and have the reader continue on his thought trajectory - well, that was wrong as it is more distracting than laying out the inconvenient truth. The book loses some of its context since its publication 15 years back, as the unfolding of events in the 21st century have complicated the issues much more, and what's looked into in brief would need more elaborate treatment now. Being an Indian, and knowing how the country is growing, it was unnerving how the nation is simply clubbed into the poor nations, which is not justified in today's political scape.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sridatta

    Like most political manifestos, it did a terrible job presenting its own ideas but a great job finding holes in others. The idea of a "World Parliament" was naive and hand-wavy but I learned a lot about the extractive policies of the Bretton Woods, the IMF, and World Bank.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anindita

    3.5 The book hardly warrants the title 'manifesto' - overly simplistic and often repetitive - doesn't reflect upon historically relevant paradigms of economic development - was actually surprised that they barely skimmed the surface of post-colonialism industrialisation - little coherence between ideas (few of which were generated by the author) BUT... - I commend the author for suggesting alternatives to democratic political systems (viable or otherwise) - all done in lay-mans terms - pretty 3.5 The book hardly warrants the title 'manifesto' - overly simplistic and often repetitive - doesn't reflect upon historically relevant paradigms of economic development - was actually surprised that they barely skimmed the surface of post-colonialism industrialisation - little coherence between ideas (few of which were generated by the author) BUT... - I commend the author for suggesting alternatives to democratic political systems (viable or otherwise) - all done in lay-mans terms - pretty engaging - a lot of heart and soul in here

  8. 4 out of 5

    Friedrich Der

    A couple of paragraphs into this book and my mind was reeling. I found myself repeatedly checking the cover details, amazed to be holding a Harper Collins imprint. It seems someone at least is still publishing some raw gritty writing. After all, it's not everyday you read something that consciously claims to be a manifesto. Monbiot writes like he is holding a lecture, constructing a rambling discourse that leaps from subject to subject. Consequently it's very inspiring, and the first couple of A couple of paragraphs into this book and my mind was reeling. I found myself repeatedly checking the cover details, amazed to be holding a Harper Collins imprint. It seems someone at least is still publishing some raw gritty writing. After all, it's not everyday you read something that consciously claims to be a manifesto. Monbiot writes like he is holding a lecture, constructing a rambling discourse that leaps from subject to subject. Consequently it's very inspiring, and the first couple of chapters are extremely seductive, hitting a lot of key notes highly attractive to anarchists. For example, he suggests that mankind is on the verge of a “mutation” from whence it will begin to see itself as a species. The people of the world will begin to have influence over global affairs. The new age he proposes, will not be an age of coercion, but an age of consent (no it has nothing to do with sex). The governance of this world will be principally democratic, rather than socialist or anarcho-syndicalist. To Monbiot, democracy is the “least worst system”. Strategies of reform, or “thinking local” will not suffice. What is required is the first world democratic revolution. He then goes on to describe the functioning of the United Nations, and details the many failures of the current model. It must be scrapped and replaced by a World Parliament, the first election of which will cost in the vicinity of five billion dollars. He goes into some details about the formation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and shows how they are inherently flawed. He proposes they are replaced by an “International Clearing Union”, something devised by economist Martin Keynes at the end of World War Two. In order to establish such a system, the third world will hold the rich world to ransom by simultaneously refusing to pay their debts. The massive debts they have accrued under the current system amount to over two trillion dollars, and defaulting on these payments would cause the collapse of every economy in the world. After this Monbiot loses his way somewhat. He defends international trade, which has allowed many poor countries to develop to the point where they can fend for themselves. Localization will not work he says, what poor countries require is the right to protect their own economies. Preserving this right will be a “Fair Trade Organization”. He neglects to explain how such a thing might be created, or in what way it would be less corruptible than the World Trade Organization. One day he hopes the economies of the world will be governed by the principle of “demurrage”, which means that liquid capital will be subject to a negative interest rate, hence encouraging preservation of real resources. He concludes by reiterating some of his earlier points and demands action, finishing with the words: “Well? What are you waiting for?”. There are several obvious points that I felt Monbiot failed to address. For example, the poorest people of the earth probably lack access to the advances in communication that might facilitate a global election. Monbiot also seems curiously blind to his own hypocrisies. While happily criticizing the plans of other dreamers, he doesn't explain why his own models are any less flawed, or less likely to be subverted. His off-the-cuff writing style might also serve to alienate some readers. I was forced to question his use of bizarre metaphors, such as his likening of international corporations to omnivorous animals moving from tree to tree. Citing Houllebecq's “Atomised” (a literary novel), as inspiration also seemed a little bit weird. Maybe an abridged version of this manifesto should be distributed. Ultimately however, the positive elements of the book win through. I suspect that to the radically minded, many of these ideas will sound downright glorious. It's also a great introduction to the current functioning of the UN, IMF and WTO, for those who usually find these bodies too complex to understand. The Age of Consent massively succeeds in provoking debate. Compulsory reading. -this originally appeared in "anarchist book review" melbourne -

  9. 4 out of 5

    Milloum

    This is an amazing work. Really inspiring. And that's because Monbiot is truly balanced and as objective as it comes: in his columns his frequently writes to acknowledge that he has been wrong in the past. But intelligent as he is, he also thinks with his heart. Brotherly love is his guide, and justice his objective. Are his proposals realistic? GM doesn't entertain crazy beliefs in the "good in man" as, say, anarchists do. power only has a chance of tolerating justice if checked and balanced This is an amazing work. Really inspiring. And that's because Monbiot is truly balanced and as objective as it comes: in his columns his frequently writes to acknowledge that he has been wrong in the past. But intelligent as he is, he also thinks with his heart. Brotherly love is his guide, and justice his objective. Are his proposals realistic? GM doesn't entertain crazy beliefs in the "good in man" as, say, anarchists do. power only has a chance of tolerating justice if checked and balanced throughout, and that's one thing he always keeps in mind. That a man so radical should believe global democracy (not localism, not marxism...) to be the best means of achieving universal justice says a lot. He is a realist. But not in the probabilistic sense. He doesn't care for prophecies. He's only saying, "we could make this happen! Let's try!". Of course we're not sure it could work. But we have nothing to lose. It would be a lot more insane to accept the status quo than to entertain "unrealistic" dreams... Anyway, this "manifesto" is repeatedly presented as only a contribution in an ongoing argument: let someone come up with better ideas, Monbiot says, and we'll all forget "The Age of Consent". No ego.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason von Meding

    So many interesting things to take away from this book, I should have read it before now! Monbiot's 'Manifesto' challenges both the legitimacy and effectiveness of the established order and many of the common arguments of the 'global justice' movement against the established order. I found his ideas about global democracy inspirational and surprisingly within reach. At the same time it was unsettling to reach an even deeper realisation that the organisations we tend to trust to uphold some sense So many interesting things to take away from this book, I should have read it before now! Monbiot's 'Manifesto' challenges both the legitimacy and effectiveness of the established order and many of the common arguments of the 'global justice' movement against the established order. I found his ideas about global democracy inspirational and surprisingly within reach. At the same time it was unsettling to reach an even deeper realisation that the organisations we tend to trust to uphold some sense of justice on the world stage, the UN, World Bank, WTO etc. are helping to rig trade and development against those countries most in need. He critiques localisation and protectionism (for the rich), the power corporations are allowed to wield and non-representative global organisations. I'd definitely recommend a read. It's easy to read, accessible and gets you thinking!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    I like your Manifesto, I put it to the testo. Starts off weak, with a summary of different political systems (of which there are only 3 apparently). This amounts to, socialism and anarchism don't work...what are we left with? Democracy. Right that'll have to do. Called me old fashioned but whatever happened to fascism? Anyway, it gets better. He rips into existing global systems such as WTO,IMF and especially the UN.He not only suggests what they could be replaced with but how this might come I like your Manifesto, I put it to the testo. Starts off weak, with a summary of different political systems (of which there are only 3 apparently). This amounts to, socialism and anarchism don't work...what are we left with? Democracy. Right that'll have to do. Called me old fashioned but whatever happened to fascism? Anyway, it gets better. He rips into existing global systems such as WTO,IMF and especially the UN.He not only suggests what they could be replaced with but how this might come about. Reading it you might these things unlikely to happen but then again you might have thought the same reading Marx 100 years ago. You have to admire his pragmatism and enthusiasm for revolution. Nice one George, baby.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    This book is THREE of the most important books ever written. It is massively important as well as nicely written. I sincerely do not know why it was not a best seller for months ... instead it sort of disappeared.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    I liked it. This kind of thinking about what we should be doing and how to get there needs to be done. Having it in a book written for the popular audience is great.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    Awful title, but this is an interesting look at how we might create a different kind of new-world-order. Better as food for thought than as a manifesto.

  15. 5 out of 5

    thomas

    i feel like a rebel when i read this book. it is interesting.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    It certainly is the opposite of Naomi Klein's works, in that it's upbeat, realistic, believable, well researched and beautifully written.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Starr

    If in doubt, stick your chin out.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toby Downton

  19. 5 out of 5

    Luke Graham

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jd98

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nat

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  23. 5 out of 5

    Turkeyphant

  24. 4 out of 5

    C Robèrt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Clinton Dean

  26. 4 out of 5

    Devanshu Narang

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leif Wängman

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike Brecon

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