Does Barber see the world as coming together or falling apart? In examining the implications of Barber's arguments, which view is more convincing?

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In his book Jihad vs. McWorld, Barber's use of "Jihad" and "McWorld" tends to sensationalize the two forces he sees as operating in the world from his early 1990s perspective. He uses "Jihad" to connote tribalism and "McWorld" to refer to the free operation of the market. Tribalism, by...

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In his book Jihad vs. McWorld, Barber's use of "Jihad" and "McWorld" tends to sensationalize the two forces he sees as operating in the world from his early 1990s perspective. He uses "Jihad" to connote tribalism and "McWorld" to refer to the free operation of the market. Tribalism, by looking at the world through the narrow lens of a particular culture or religion, resists globalization. Meanwhile, the free operation of the market, while harmonious with globalization, creates inequalities and fails to achieve democracy, and is thus imperfect.

For Barber, tribalism is clearly more pernicious than McWorld, because he sees globalization as a necessity. He underlines this necessity and even the inevitability of globalization by highlighting four imperatives: the market imperative, the information-technology imperative, the resource imperative, and the ecological imperative. So, while both the future of "Jihad" and "McWorld" are both bleak, the latter at least contributes to globalization; tribalism is diametrically opposed to it.

Barber offers a third path: confederalism and interdependency. Unfortunately, in this particular article, he provides only a brief and fairly abstract vision of this brighter future. He proposes that nation states be replaced by smaller political entities belonging to regional economic associations. In recent years, until his death in 2017, he continued to flesh out this vision of the future. See the second and third link below.

To answer the initial question, Barber is more concerned about what should and should not happen in the future rather than describing what is happening or predicting what will happen.

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Barber's work sees the world as needing to find a different answer than the one posed by the paradigms of Jihad and McWorld.  Barber sees the relentless homogeneity of the latter and the fierce Balkanization offered in the former justifies all concerned citizens to seek another path.  For Barber, he sees the world as simultaneously coming together and falling apart.  The "stiff winds" of Jihad blow with the same force as the "inevitability of McWorld."  Barber sees the world as being poised between both paradigms and having to accept the responsibility for finding a new path or an alternative direction.

In terms of convincing, it is difficult to assess the full force of Barber's arguments in a post- September 11 world.  The attacks of September 11 and those that have followed in different parts of the world have done much to generate a large level of repulsion towards Jihad.  Perhaps, this means that McWorld has "won" to a great extent.  Yet, the Balkanization of ideology that Barber suggests is intrinsic to Jihad has lost much in way of steam.  A large contingent of the world rejects Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  While there are still strongholds of both elements present, the reality is that most of the world has come over to the Globalization side, one in which social media and technological advancement have become essential.  McWorld has become replaced with Twitter and Facebook, and in the process, one has seen a decline in Jihad.  Barber's work in the mid 1990s can be revisited in a variety of ways after the Attacks of September 11 and the "global war on terror."  As a result, one can argue that globalization and the promise of economic wealth have done much to move the world closer together in embracing similar ideologies. 

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