Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. Volume 9, Number 2 Summer JIHAD VS. MCWORLD. By Benjamin Barber. New York, N.y.: Times Books. 4 Jihad vs. McWorld. In advanced economics that are competently and resourcefully governed, ways may be found in which the risks imposed on citizens by. Jihad vs. McWorld. The two axial principles of our age—tribalism and globalism —clash at every point except one: they may both be threatening.
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Jihad vs. McWorld is a groundbreaking work, an elegant and illuminating analysis of the central conflict of our times: consumerist capitalism versus religious. Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World is a book by . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. Get this from a library! Jihad vs. McWorld. [Benjamin R Barber] -- Jihad vs. McWorld is an analysis of the fundamental conflict of our times: consumerist capitalism.
In their social requisites, secrecy and science are enemies. The new technology's software is perhaps even more globalizing than its hardware. The information arm of international commerce's sprawling body reaches out and touches distinct nations and parochial cultures, and gives them a common face chiseled in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue, and in Silicon Valley. The demise of apartheid was already in production.
Exhibitors at the Cannes film festival expressed growing anxiety over the "homogenization" and "Americanization" of the global film industry when, for the third year running, American films dominated the awards ceremonies. America has dominated the world's popular culture for much longer, and much more decisively. In November of Switzerland's once insular culture boasted best-seller lists featuring Terminator 2 as the No.
No wonder the Japanese are downloading Hollywood film studios even faster than Americans are downloading Japanese television sets. This kind of software supremacy may in the long term be far more important than hardware superiority, because culture has become more potent than armaments. What is the power of the Pentagon compared with Disneyland? McDonald's in Moscow and Coke in China will do more to create a global culture than military colonization ever could.
It is less the goods than the brand names that do the work, for they convey life-style images that alter perception and challenge behavior. They make up the seductive software of McWorld's common at times much too common soul. Yet in all this high-tech commercial world there is nothing that looks particularly democratic. It lends itself to surveillance as well as liberty, to new forms of manipulation and covert control as well as new kinds of participation, to skewed, unjust market outcomes as well as greater productivity.
The consumer society and the open society are not quite synonymous. Capitalism and democracy have a relationship, but it is something less than a marriage. An efficient free market after all requires that consumers be free to vote their dollars on competing goods, not that citizens be free to vote their values and beliefs on competing political candidates and programs.
The free market flourished in junta-run Chile, in military-governed Taiwan and Korea, and, earlier, in a variety of autocratic European empires as well as their colonial possessions.
The impact of globalization on ecology is a cliche even to world leaders who ignore it. We know well enough that the German forests can be destroyed by Swiss and Italians driving gas-guzzlers fueled by leaded gas.
Jihad Vs. McWorld - Barber.pdf
We also know that the planet can be asphyxiated by greenhouse gases because Brazilian farmers want to be part of the twentieth century and are burning down tropical rain forests to clear a little land to plough, and because Indonesians make a living out of converting their lush jungle into toothpicks for fastidious Japanese diners, upsetting the delicate oxygen balance and in effect puncturing our global lungs. Yet this ecological consciousness has meant not only greater awareness but also greater inequality, as modernized nations try to slam the door behind them, saying to developing nations, "The world cannot afford your modernization; ours has wrung it dry!
Each applies impartially to Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists; to democrats and totalitarians; to capitalists and socialists. The Enlightenment dream of a universal rational society has to a remarkable degree been realized—but in a form that is commercialized, homogenized, depoliticized, bureaucratized, and, of course, radically incomplete, for the movement toward McWorld is in competition with forces of global breakdown, national dissolution, and centrifugal corruption.
These forces, working in the opposite direction, are the essence of what I call Jihad. But they often appear as ineffective reactors to the world's real actors: national states and, to an ever greater degree, subnational factions in permanent rebellion against uniformity and integration—even the kind represented by universal law and justice.
The headlines feature these players regularly: 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, Abkhasians, Kurile Islander Japanese, the Zulus of Inkatha, Catalonians, Tamils, and, of course, Palestinians—people without countries, inhabiting nations not their own, seeking smaller worlds within borders that will seal them off from modernity.
A powerful irony is at work here.
Nationalism was once a force of integration and unification, a movement aimed at bringing together disparate clans, tribes, and cultural fragments under new, assimilationist flags. But as Ortega y Gasset noted more than sixty years ago, having won its victories, nationalism changed its strategy.
In the s, and again today, it is more often a reactionary and divisive force, pulverizing the very nations it once helped cement together.
The force that creates nations is "inclusive," Ortega wrote in The Revolt of the Masses.
See a Problem?
But in Europe everything is more than consolidated, and nationalism is nothing but a mania There were more than thirty wars in progress last year, most of them ethnic, racial, tribal, or religious in character, and the list of unsafe regions doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. Some new world order!
The aim of many of these small-scale wars is to redraw boundaries, to implode states and resecure parochial identities: to escape McWorld's dully insistent imperatives. The mood is that of Jihad: war not as an instrument of policy but as an emblem of identity, an expression of community, an end in itself.
Even where there is no shooting war, there is fractiousness, secession, and the quest for ever smaller communities. Add to the list of dangerous countries those at risk: In Switzerland and Spain, Jurassian and Basque separatists still argue the virtues of ancient identities, sometimes in the language of bombs.
Hyperdisintegration in the former Soviet Union may well continue unabated—not just a Ukraine independent from the Soviet Union but a Bessarabian Ukraine independent from the Ukrainian republic; not just Russia severed from the defunct union but Tatarstan severed from Russia. Yugoslavia makes even the disunited, ex-Soviet, nonsocialist republics that were once the Soviet Union look integrated, its sectarian fatherlands springing up within factional motherlands like weeds within weeds within weeds.
Kurdish independence would threaten the territorial integrity of four Middle Eastern nations. Well before the current cataclysm Soviet Georgia made a claim for autonomy from the Soviet Union, only to be faced with its Ossetians , in a republic of 5. The Abkhasian minority in Georgia has followed suit. Even the good will established by Canada's once promising Meech Lake protocols is in danger, with Francophone Quebec again threatening the dissolution of the federation.
In South Africa the emergence from apartheid was hardly achieved when friction between Inkatha's Zulus and the African National Congress's tribally identified members threatened to replace Europeans' racism with an indigenous tribal war.
After thirty years of attempted integration using the colonial language English as a unifier, Nigeria is now playing with the idea of linguistic multiculturalism—which could mean the cultural breakup of the nation into hundreds of tribal fragments.
Even Saddam Hussein has benefited from the threat of internal Jihad, having used renewed tribal and religious warfare to turn last season's mortal enemies into reluctant allies of an Iraqi nationhood that he nearly destroyed.
The passing of communism has torn away the thin veneer of internationalism workers of the world unite!
Europe's old scourge, anti-Semitism, is back with a vengeance, but it is only one of many antagonisms. It appears all too easy to throw the historical gears into reverse and pass from a Communist dictatorship back into a tribal state. Among the tribes, religion is also a battlefield.
Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy
Strictly applied to religious war, it is used only in reference to battles where the faith is under assault, or battles against a government that denies the practice of Islam. My use here is rhetorical, but does follow both journalistic practice and history. Remember the Thirty Years War? Whatever forms of Enlightenment universalism might once have come to grace such historically related forms of monotheism as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in many of their modern incarnations they are parochial rather than cosmopolitan, angry rather than loving, proselytizing rather than ecumenical, zealous rather than rationalist, sectarian rather than deistic, ethnocentric rather than universalizing.
As a result, like the new forms of hypernationalism, the new expressions of religious fundamentalism are fractious and pulverizing, never integrating. This is religion as the Crusaders knew it: a battle to the death for souls that if not saved will be forever lost. The atmospherics of Jihad have resulted in a breakdown of civility in the name of identity, of comity in the name of community. International relations have sometimes taken on the aspect of gang war—cultural turf battles featuring tribal factions that were supposed to be sublimated as integral parts of large national, economic, postcolonial, and constitutional entities.
The Darkening Future of Democracy These rather melodramatic tableaux vivants do not tell the whole story, however. For all their defects, Jihad and McWorld have their attractions. These tribal forces come in many varieties: 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: 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.
At the time, a lot of very smart people thought an economic cold shower of privatization and marketization would lead to the democratization of Russia, but of course just the opposite has happened.
The thugs who used to control the economy through the apparatus of the Communist party now control the economy through the private market, and while you do have a certain amount of competition and capitalism in Russia today, you've got nothing like democracy.
We see the same sort of dynamic at work in places like Poland and Hungary and East Germany, where people were promised democracy but instead got shopping and markets, and they're disappointed and disillusioned as a result, and that has led to a revival of the fortunes of the Communist party, or its successor, in some of those countries. In other words, when we pit the forces of reactionary jihad against the forces of aggressive global capitalism, democracy often is the first casualty.
Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy
But without democracy, we're actually giving fuel to the jihadic enemies of modernity and the West and making it much more difficult to contain terrorism. And without a conscious effort to deploy democratization as a weapon for social justice and against terrorism, we're going to see a continuing struggle between the secular, materialist marketplace and the forces of religious fanaticism, and the longer that struggle goes on, the greater the chances that democracy itself will be the ultimate loser.
PND: Is it realistic, on the other hand, to expect democracy to take root in regions of the world — say, the Middle East or Central Asia — that lack democratic traditions? There are many roads to democracy, and many styles of democracy. Generic democracy is simply the recognition that all human beings would like to participate in the institutions of power by which they are governed BB: Democracy doesn't have to mean Americanization or democracy American-style.
The great tribal council of Afghanistan, the loya jirga, is a traditional, participatory body that embodies representatives from all the tribes of Afghanistan and from time to time was used to assuage and ameliorate the tensions among them.
In Africa, the tribe itself, which has a paternal structure and is quasi-democratic, could play a useful role in establishing democracy.
Gandhi maintained that the Indian village ought to play that role and attempted to make it the building block of Indian democracy. So, again, there are many, many different approaches to democracy that allow and accommodate participation, empowerment, and some sense of self-governance by the people. Seen that way, there is no culture, there is no society, that is not capable of being self-governing and democratic.
That's why I prefer to talk about democracies instead of democracy.
And that's why I think we need to approach the question with great respect, looking for ways in which, on a country-by-country basis, we can cultivate historical traditions and internal cultural features that are compatible with the concept of government by the people. If we do that, then I think we'll have a much better chance of making democracy work in different cultures and different societies around the world.
I have a chapter in the new book called "You Can't Export Democracy. But I prefer to talk not about democracy but about democracies, in the plural. Generic democracy is simply the recognition that all human beings would like to participate in the institutions of power by which they are governed.
I know of no people, anywhere, who don't want some control over the political decisions that impact their lives. That's a universal aspiration. But there are many, many different ways to realize that aspiration, and there are many, many different cultures that have to be accommodated on the way to realizing that aspiration.
Of all people, we should know that. Even within the thirteen colonies, there were many different approaches to self-government, from the New Jersey freehold, to the New England town meeting, to the proprietary charters of Maryland and Pennsylvania. And, of course, within the Western tradition there is the Anglo-American common-law tradition, with its emphasis on individual rights, and the continental Roman-law tradition, with its emphasis on communal or group rights.
What is the collaborative, and what is it working to achieve? BB: The Democracy Collaborative is a remarkable coalition led by the University of Maryland and eight or nine principals there that include William Galston, Linda Williams, Gar Alperovitz, and leading members of the faculty and administration whose goal is to make American higher education an asset for local communities, the national community, and the global community.
We believe in the engaged university, a university that takes responsibility for the welfare of the community of which it finds itself a part. We want to see public and private universities emphasize their role in teaching civic responsibility and in the training of civic leaders and practitioners.
We want universities — and we have over two dozen participating universities and colleges in America, Europe, and South Africa — to come together to develop common strategies and make common cause in dealing with the pressing problem of the democratic deficit around the world.
We want to break down the walls between theory and practice. The collaborative is also our way of trying to bridge the gap between one of the great strengths of America, our remarkable system of higher education, and one of our great embarrassments, namely, the often sorry state of the communities in which those colleges and universities are located.
We need only remember that Yale University , one of the world's great universities, sits inside of New Haven, which has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation. We need only remember that Stanford University , one of the great private universities of the West, sits at the edge of East Palo Alto, a town that has the highest gang mortality rate in the nation.
And yet there is almost no connection between those universities and the communities in which they find themselves. Our philanthropic foundations need to recognize the vital role they play and do more to demonstrate that they understand the urgency of the crises confronting us They need to have faster reaction times.
They need to identify new problems quickly and to act in response to those problems before they become entrenched. And that means that they need to become more flexible and, on occasion at least, to take risks that they've avoided in the past in order to make themselves more effective.
Jihad vs. McWorld
We believe that one of the great strengths of America has been the powerful role of what I would call civic philanthropy in the affairs of the country. There is no sector of society as robust and strong, I think, as the philanthropic sector in America. In fact, I know of no society in the world that has as powerful and influential a philanthropic sector. But, as is true of our universities, there is perhaps a little bit of self-indulgence, a little bit of insularity, a little bit of remoteness within the philanthropic sector from what I believe are the impending dangers and urgent problems we face.
And I think our philanthropic foundations need to recognize the vital role they play and do more to demonstrate that they understand the urgency of the crises confronting us. They need, as a consequence, to streamline their procedures to facilitate grantmaking in areas that really count and maybe take a few more risks than they've been used to taking. American philanthropies are appropriately insulated from politics in order to maintain their tax status.
But sometimes insulation from politics becomes insulation from anything that is even remotely political, and since everything of importance is in some sense political, that can result in a de-fanging of our philanthropic institutions and a distancing from the real issues that have to be faced.
Whether the problem is homelessness or AIDS or the civic deficit of our young people or the decline of social capital that Robert Putnam and his colleagues have charted, sometimes it's not enough to say let's hold a conference next year and publish the proceedings the year after and, based on those proceedings, initiate a small pilot project three years hence. Because in many cases, by the time three or four years have passed, the cost exacted by the problems we're trying to address is already horrendous.
We've maybe lost another generation of children in the schools, or Head Start has gone down the drain, or maybe a new epidemic has gotten a foothold in a particular community. PND: A final question: What can ordinary Americans, who have not been asked to make sacrifices in the war on terror, do in this time of danger and profound uncertainty to make themselves safer and the world a safer place?
We have to show the terrorists that they haven't succeeded in terrorizing us and disrupting the life of the country. Shopping, in his formulation, became a kind of civic imperative. And I think that would've been the ideal moment to call on them to engage civically, to encourage them to become more deeply engaged in philanthropic activities, and church and synagogue and mosque activities, to become more engaged in their municipalities, to take more responsibility for the well-being of their fellow citizens, to maybe even pay some extra taxes to help New York deal with the fallout of the huge hit it took for the rest of the country and to pay for some of the homeland security measures that will need to be paid for.
But instead, as you said, we've been asked to sacrifice nothing. Because we don't have a conscript army and because the administration seems hellbent on reducing taxes even as it responds with massive military force to the threat of terrorism, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan on al Qaeda and the Taliban appear to be enterprises with little or no cost attached to them.
At the same time, the president is basically saying, "Don't worry. Just go about your business. Spectatorship and anxiety go hand in hand. To witness a car accident is to feel fear. To get involved and try to save the people inside the wreck is to put aside fear.
And despite the fact that it was perilous work, I suspect the men and women at the World Trade Center site felt less afraid than a lot of people elsewhere who could do nothing except watch on television. America has become too much a nation of spectators We will watch the war in Iraq, as we watched the war in Afghanistan, not as citizens but as spectators So I think it's imperative, now more than ever, and even though the administration is not calling on Americans to participate or be part of not just the war on terrorism but the struggle for global justice and democracy, that we volunteer and find ways on our own to engage with the world around us.
That doesn't necessarily mean joining the Peace Corps and going overseas. What it does mean is being part of a community service program in your church or synagogue.
It means participating in philanthropic activities and making sure you take responsibility for your political citizenship at the local and national and global levels, not just by voting, but by being informed. Citizenship is not just a remedy for terrorism, it's a remedy for fear and anxiety.Markets abhor frontiers as nature abhors a vacuum. Pages to import images to Wikidata Wikipedia articles needing clarification from April The mood is that of Jihad: The old interwar national state based on territory and political sovereignty looks to be a mere transitional development.
In the US, this means believing in the Constitution and the beliefs of the Founding Father's as well as English being spoken as the official language so there is some sort of commonality that binds Americans. Whatever forms of Enlightenment universalism within weeds within weeds.