Jihad vs McWorld- 20 years later


Jihad vs. McWorld

The two axial principles of our age—tribalism and globalism—clash at every point except one: they may both be threatening to democracy

By Benjamin R. Barber


Just beyond the horizon of current events lie two possible political futures—both bleak, neither democratic. The first is a retribalization of large swaths of humankind by war and bloodshed: a threatened Lebanonization of national states in which culture is pitted against culture, people against people, tribe against tribe—a Jihad in the name of a hundred narrowly conceived faiths against every kind of interdependence, every kind of artificial social cooperation and civic mutuality. The second is being borne in on us by the onrush of economic and ecological forces that demand integration and uniformity and that mesmerize the world with fast music, fast computers, and fast food—with MTV, Macintosh, and McDonald's, pressing nations into one commercially homogenous global network: one McWorld tied together by technology, ecology, communications, and commerce. The planet is falling precipitantly apart AND coming reluctantly together at the very same moment.

I read Jihad vs. McWorld when it was released as a book. Several years later, President Clinton was asked what he was reading and without hesitation said Jihad vs. McWorld by Barber. I've reread it several times since. Last week, the battle exploded across the headlines as MENA nations lit up, the Fed dialed QE up to 11 and Apple released a new i-phone. Apple was trading at $14.75 cents when Barber's article appeared in The Atlantic. The stock printed a new high at 696.00 as a KFC was attacked in Lebanon last week.

The inane culture channels of MTV play a remarkable role in the anger. MENA countries blocking MTV are the hotbeds of Jihadi violence. (Barber uses a broad definition of Jihad, not the narrow religious term) The Occupy movement in the US is a Jihad based on the same principles and dynamics outlined above. "Just beyond the horizon of current events lie two political futures- both bleak, neither democratic. " DOW 13593, enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *