Rarely, as Richard Falk writes in The Great Terror War , has an event exerted such leverage on the collective imagination of a society as did the terrorist attacks of September In a few moments on that perfect late-summer morning, Americans' collective sense of security was shattered and geopolitical assumptions that had remained fixed for the better part of five decades were suddenly untethered from their Cold War moorings. A day later, on September 12, President George W. Bush vowed to fight global terrorism, and nine days after that, before a joint session of Congress, he expanded the scope of the war to include governments that harbor and support terrorists. At that moment, however, members of the Bush administration and Congress were already looking ahead to the next phase of the war — the elimination of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction WMDs.

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Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World is a book by American political scientist Benjamin Barber , in which he puts forth a theory that describes the struggle between "McWorld" globalization and the corporate control of the political process and " Jihad " Arabic term for "struggle", here modified to mean tradition and traditional values , in the form of extreme nationalism or religious orthodoxy and theocracy.

Benjamin Barber similarly questions the impact of economic globalization as well as its problems for democracy. As neoliberal economic theory —not to be confused with social liberalism —is the force behind globalization, this critique is relevant on a much larger scale.

Unregulated market forces encounter parochial which he calls tribal forces. These tribal forces come in many varieties: religious, cultural, ethnic, regional, local, etc. As globalization imposes a culture of its own on a population, the tribal forces feel threatened and react.

More than just economic, the crises that arise from these confrontations often take on a sacred quality to the tribal elements; thus Barber's use of the term "Jihad" although in the second edition, he expresses regret at having used that term.

Barber's prognosis in Jihad vs McWorld is generally negative—he concludes that neither global corporations nor traditional cultures are supportive of democracy. He further posits that McWorld could ultimately win the "struggle". He also proposes a model for small, local democratic institutions and civic engagement as the hope for an alternative to these two forces. Barber states that neither Jihad nor McWorld needs or promotes democracy. Barber argues that there are several imperatives that make up the McWorld, or the globalization of politics : a market imperative, a resource imperative, an information-technology imperative, and an ecological imperative.

Due to globalization, our market has expanded and is vulnerable to the transnational markets where free trade, easy access to banking and exchange of currency are available. With the emergence of our markets, we have come up with international laws and treaties in order to maintain stability and efficiency in the interconnected economy. Resources are also an imperative aspect in the McWorld, where autarky seems insufficient and inefficient in presence of globalization.

The information-technology of globalization has opened up communications to people all over the world, allowing us to exchange information. Also, technology is now systematically integrated into everyone's lives to the point where it "gives every person on earth access to every other person". For instance, cutting down a jungle will upset the overall oxygen balance, which affects our "global lungs". McWorld may promote peace and prosperity, but Barber sees this as being done at the cost of independence and identity , and notes that no more social justice or equality than necessary are needed to promote efficient economic production and consumption.

Barber sees Jihad as offering solidarity and protecting identities, but at the potential cost of tolerance and stability. Barber describes the solidarity needed within the concept of Jihad as being secured through exclusion and war against outsiders.

As a result, he argues, different forms of anti-democratization can arise through anti-democratic one-party dictatorships, military juntas, or theocratic fundamentalism. Barber also describes through modern day examples what these 'players' are. Kurds, Basques, Puerto Ricans, Ossetians, East Timoreans, Quebecois, the Catholics of Northern Ireland, Catalans, Tamils, and of course, Palestinians — people with countries, inhabiting nations not their own, seeking smaller worlds within borders that will seal them off from modernity.

Barber writes democracy can be spread and secured through the world satisfying the needs of both the McWorld and Jihad. Every case is different, however "Democracy grows from the bottom up and cannot be imposed from the top down. Civil society has to be built from the inside out. The nation-state would play a diminished role, and sovereignty would lose some of its political potency. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. McWorld Cover to the paperback edition.

Dewey Decimal. The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved Lechner and John Boli. The Globalization Reader. United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Categories : non-fiction books Books about foreign relations of the United States Books about globalization Books about civilizations The Atlantic magazine articles. Hidden categories: Wikipedia articles needing clarification from April Namespaces Article Talk.

Views Read Edit View history. Contribute Help Community portal Recent changes Upload file. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Cover to the paperback edition.


Cornell Chronicle

Look Inside. Jihad vs. McWorld is a groundbreaking work, an elegant and illuminating analysis of the central conflict of our times: consumerist capitalism versus religious and tribal fundamentalism. These diametrically opposed but strangely intertwined forces are tearing apart—and bringing together—the world as we know it, undermining democracy and the nation-state on which it depends. On the other hand, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds are fragmenting the political landscape into smaller and smaller tribal units. McWorld is the term that distinguished writer and political scientist Benjamin R. Barber has coined to describe the powerful and paradoxical interdependence of these forces.


Jihad vs. McWorld

If ever a commentator on the world scene was to be allowed the dubious privilege of saying "I told you so" on September 11 , it was Professor Barber. The commentator with the eggiest face is Francis "End of History" Fukuyama. Barber's book, which is a kind of riposte to Fukuyama's and similarly began life as an article in this case, in the March issue of Atlantic Monthly , was published in America in And the title, from which it isn't hard to get an idea of the contents, is rather chillingly apt - even more so than it was a decade ago. Recent events have not exactly conspired to overturn its thesis, although one might for the moment feel like reversing the word order, given who has been most visibly on the offensive lately. Surprisingly, this is its first publication in the UK. Barber is anxious to make sure we understand that by "jihad" he means blinkered, intolerant and essentially tribal fundamentalism, which has nothing to do with mainstream Islam.

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