ON-Lion Letter
Don Eberly's new Encounter Book, The Rise of Global Civil Society:  Building Nations from the Bottom Up, persuasively argues that the progress of freedom depends critically on the creation of civic cultures that promote democratic values.

Eberly has worked at The White House, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the State Department, including for a time in Baghdad.  He is now a senior fellow of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research in Indianapolis.

In The Rise of Global Civil Society, Eberly shows that the key to spreading workable democracy lies in finding ways to harness the best of both the public and private sectors, relying on markets and civil society to enlist the poor as partners in their own development.

"Democracy cannot be instituted simply by forcing elections on nations that remain in a state of underdevelopment," he writes in the book.  "Genuine democracy is not possible without democratic citizens."

Eberly believes that this necessary shift from vertical to horizontal power is only beginning to be understood by official government-aid agencies.  He lauds private aid's longtime acceptance of this truth.  Today, 85% of all outflows of resources from the U.S. come from private individuals, businesses, religious congregations, universities, and immigrant communities.

"The institutions and values of democracy are most likely to advance through the continued outflow of assets from the American private sector," he observes.

In large part at the behest of this kind of aid and those giving it, Eberly thinks, the next century is shaping up as one in which active citizens, social entrepreneurs, and volunteers creatively link up to solve problems.  While U.S. military and economic power are basic components of America's presence in the world, compassion is American's most-consequential export.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  Bradley also supports the Sagamore Institute.
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