Jihad vs. McWorld

by Benjamin R. Barber

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What if anything did Barber envision for the future of world peace or order?

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Barber does not really see much in way of absolute hope to avoid the perils caused by the conditions of Jihad and McWorld.  Essentially, Barber suggests that the best way to avoid the perils of both is to allow a solution that is a hybrid of both.  One of Barber's fundamental critiques of McWorld is that it reduces cultural identity to commodity based acceptance of material products.  Barber suggests that nations establishing expanded realms of cultural identity can avoid this.  At the same time, Barber feels that these zones of cultural identity will go very far in reducing the propensity for Jihad, only caused when there is a lack of cultural voice present in a social setting.  Barber believes this hybrid solution of both is the best approach to avoiding the terrors of both polarities, ones in which democracy becomes the first casualty:

It certainly seems possible that the most attractive democratic ideal in the face of the brutal realities of Jihad and the dull realities of McWorld will be a confederal union of semi-autonomous communities smaller than nation-states, tied together into regional economic associations and markets larger than nation-states—participatory and self-determining in local matters at the bottom, representative and accountable at the top.

In such a condition, something like the Articles of Confederation, a loose "confederation of states," becomes optimal in a setting where both Jihad and McWorld end up threatening what is and what can be.

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