Jihad vs. McWorld | Wikipedia audio article

Jihad vs. McWorld | Wikipedia audio article


Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism
Are Reshaping the World is a 1995 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. The book was based on a March 1992 article
by Barber first published in The Atlantic Monthly. The book employs the basic critique of neoliberalism
seen in Barber’s earlier, seminal work Strong 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.==Problems for democracy==
Barber states that neither Jihad nor McWorld needs or promotes democracy.===McWorld===
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”. Globalization of ecology may seem cliche;
Barber argues that whatever a nation does to their own ecology, it affects everyone
on earth. 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.===Jihad===
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. “they are cultures, not countries; parts,
not wholes; sects, not religions, rebellious factions and dissenting minorities at war
not just with globalism but with the traditional nation-state. 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.”===Confederal option===
Barber writes democracy can be spread and secured through the world satisfying the needs
of both the McWorld and Jihad. “With its concern for accountability, the
protection of minorities, and the universal rule of law, a confederalized representative
system would serve the political needs of McWorld as well as oligarchic bureaucratism
or meritocratic elitism is currently doing.” Some can accept democracy faster than others. 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.” He goes on to further explain exactly what
the confederal option means and how it will help. “It certainly seems possible that the most
attractive democratic ideal in the face of the brutal realities of Jihad and the dull
realities of McWorld will be a confederal union of semi autonomous communities smaller
than nation-states, tied together into regional economic associations and markets larger than
nation-states—participatory and self-determining in local matters at the bottom, representative
and accountable at the top. The nation-state would play a diminished role,
and sovereignty would lose some of its political potency.”==See also==
The Clash of Civilizations The McDonaldization of Society
The Lexus and the Olive Tree

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