- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (July 30, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345383044
- ISBN-13: 978-0345383044
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 75 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy Paperback – July 30, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Political scientist Barber examines the rise of both intolerant tribal identities and international consumerism.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"An important new book."¶
"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."¶
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."¶
"Stimulating, tartly written."¶
Top customer reviews
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"...Jihad stands not so much in stark opposition as in subtle counterpoint to McWorld and is itself a dialectical response to modernity whose features both reflect and reinforce the modern world's virtues and vices --Jihad via McWorld rather than Jihad vs. McWorld."
Barber also reveals that Jihad is very much active in modern Western democracies. In America, for example, armed militias and groups such as Aryan Nations are attempts to overthrow the moral corruption of modern capitalism. Less extreme but in the same vein are fundamentalist Christians who believe Judgment Day is imminent, and perhaps welcome it. Many will recall the reaction of Pat Robertson and other fundamentalists after the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack --it was, they said, God punishing an immoral, Godless society. Overall, Jihad vs. McWorld is an important book because it puts the chaotic world situation into meaningful perspective. His analysis shows the dangers of oversimplifying things and invites us to look at the complexities of this rather tragic modern dialectic. As Barber tells us, if either Jihad or McWorld is allowed to triumph, the world of the future will not be very free, sane or pleasant.
In essence, Barber demonstrates that what we consider to be good in the industrialized world -- specifically, an ever-expanding capitalist, consumerist lifestyle -- is viewed with deadly suspicion by many in the non-industrialized world. That's because the wholesale acceptance of our culture is perceived by many of the world's poor as a threat to their traditional lifestyles.
The author points out that capitalism originally took root and flourished because of Western democracy's ability to curb the excesses of unfettered profit-making. But today's multinational corporations are no longer restrained by democratic forces in many parts of the third world. There, capitalism works in the name of absentee investors as a predatory force, stripping communities of their material and cultural resources, creating a branded, homogenous "McWorld" that too often leaves multitudes of impoverished people in its wake.
Such conditions breed anger and resentment against Westerners in general and often against the American symbols of global capitalism in particular. In the worst case scenarios, negative energy is manifested by terrorism. So as the multinationals connect the world more closely together with sophisticated communications and production systems, "tribal units" such as terrorist organizations strive at the same time to tear this world apart.
Somehow, "global democracy" needs to catch up with economic globalisation, the author reasons, to secure a more stable "global civil society". Such a world should more equitably balance the needs of people with capitalism. Barber believes that if people were truly empowered as citizens they could reshape their communities to better serve their own needs. In the end, this would effectively diminish the attractiveness of joining in the ultimately self-destructive world of "Jihad".
Furthermore, the long-term growth of capitalism itself also requires stable markets. Barber points out that unless we more equitably share the benefits of capitalism with so-called emerging market countries, the instabilities that are created will eventually undermine our own success too.
As policy makers struggle to learn how we can prevent another attack from happening, we would do well to consider the intelligent analysis in this outstanding book.
Personally, I found the author to come off a bit snobby at times and I felt the last couple of chapters wound down in economic jargon that I did not fully understand. I am a history person and I do not have much background in economics, so it is easy to confuse me.
However, on the whole this book was great. It was very readable and the book always made you think. The world of religious extremism scares me. Whether it is ultraorthodox Jews, born-again Christians, or the real Jihad I am not a fan of religious extremism. The idea of McWorld really does not scare me that much. I have been to China and seen Pepsi posters on every corner and KFC's on every street. I really do not think that is such a bad thing. What scares me about McWorld was best illustrated in NY recently with Disney vs. Time Warner. The world of music, computers, sports teams, stadiums,internet, movies, etc. is increasingly more and more under the control of a very few people and groups. I do not think that is a good trend at all. That scares me much more than seeing a Kenny Rogers Roasters in Beijing.
I highly recommend this book. It is easy to read, until the last few pages, and will make you think. Read this and then pick up any of the great works of Robert D. Kaplan and compare.