Jihad vs. McWorld

Jihad vs. McWorld

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by Benjamin Barber
     
 

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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 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

Overview

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 one hand, consumer capitalism on the global level is rapidly dissolving the social and economic barriers between nations, transforming the world's diverse populations into a blandly uniform market. On the other hand, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds are fragmenting the political landscape into smaller and smaller tribal units. Jihad vs. 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. In this important new book, he explores the alarming repercussions of this potent dialectic for democracy.

A work of persuasive originality and penetrating insight, Jihad vs. McWorld holds up a sharp, clear lens to the dangerous chaos of the post-Cold War world. Critics and political leaders have already heralded Benjamin R. Barber's work for its bold vision and moral courage. Jihad vs. McWorld is an essential text for anyone who wants to understand our troubled present and the crisis threatening our future.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important new book."¶
Newsweek

"Mr. Barber is. . . the first to put Jihad and McWorld together in an inescapable dialectic . . . . [It] stands as a bold invitation to debate the broad contours and future of society."¶
—Barbara Ehrenreich¶
The New York Times Book Review

"COMPELLING. . . IMPRESSIVE. . . A thorough, engaging look at the current state of world affairs."¶
—The American Reporter

"Challenging and instructive."¶
San Francisco Chronicle

"Barber is well worth reading. . . for an introduction to the real world, look at Jihad vs. McWorld."¶
The Nation

"Stimulating, tartly written."¶
Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Expanding on a 1993 article in the Atlantic, Rutgers University political scientist Barber offers a stimulating, tartly written survey of two paradoxical world trends: the looming balkanization of nation-states (Jihad) and the inexorable force of integration by technology (McWorld). The trends are in dialectic, not opposition. In McWorld, Barber notes, national boundaries become less significant in the face of multinational corporations and resource interdependence. World culture, he observes, is driven by the ``infotainment telesector,'' characterized by American advertising, film and MTV. Noting that McWorld can serve Jihad, Barber sketches the rise of nationalism in European democracies, in central Europe's emerging democracies, in Islam and, intriguingly, in the American Christian right. McWorld, he writes, threatens democracy by deadening debate and accepting inequalities, while Jihad threatens democracy by sacrificing tolerance and deliberation. ``[T]hey both make war on the sovereign nation-state and thus undermine the nation-state's democratic institutions.'' Barber believes each culture must build its own institutions of civil society. More wishfully, he suggests that a form of confederalism-not that of the European Union but of pre-1800 Switzerland-might serve to knit both regions and states. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In a highly serious book with a catchy title, Barber, director of the Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy at Rutgers University and an exponent of direct democracy, offers an extensive analysis of the state of the world, written for a general lay audience. Combining over 50 pages of reference notes with a barrage of examples from popular culture, this analysis explores the contemporary paradox between widespread political disintegration (Jihad) and global economic homogenization (McWorld). In colorful prose, he concludes that both trends pose major threats to democracy and personal liberty. More than anything else, what has been lost in the clash between Jihad and McWorld has been the idea of the public as something more than a random collection of people. Thus, Barber calls for a "reconstruction of civil society," a middle ground between government and the private sector. "It is not where we vote and not where we buy and sell; it is where we talk with neighbors about the commonweal." This book starts that conversation effectively and in an entertaining fashion. For all academic and public libraries.-James Rhodes, Luther Coll., Decorah, Ia.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345383044
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/1996
Edition description:
1st Ballantine Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
186,088
Product dimensions:
5.55(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.85(d)

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Jihad vs. McWorld 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
the tables in the back of this book which detail the chronological history of various global corporate mergers are astounding and informative. I consider it required reading if one wants to remain informed regarding the ways in which these mega-mergers shape our future, our world, and our perceptions. Highly thought-provoking and informative.