Jihad vs. McWorld

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jihad vs. McWorld
Jihad vs McWorld.jpg
Author Benjamin Barber
Country United States
Language English
Genre Political science
Publisher Ballantine Books
Publication date
Media type Paperback
Pages 389
ISBN 0-345-38304-4
OCLC 37043735
909.82/9 21
LC Class HM201 .B37 1996

Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World is a 1995 book by American political scientist Benjamin Barber, in which he puts forth a theory that describes the struggle between "McWorld" (globalization and the corporate control of the political process) and "Jihad" (Arabic term for "struggle," here modified to mean tradition and traditional values, in the form of extreme nationalism or religious orthodoxy and theocracy). Benjamin Barber similarly questions the impact of economic globalization.

The book was based on a March 1992 article by Barber first published in The Atlantic Monthly.[1] The book employs the basic critique of neoliberalism seen in Barber's earlier, seminal work Strong Democracy. As neoliberal economic theory — not to be confused with social liberalism — is the force behind globalization, this critique is relevant on a much larger scale. Unregulated market forces encounter parochial (which he calls tribal) forces.

These tribal forces come in many varieties: religious, cultural, ethnic, regional, local, etc. 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.

Problems for democracy[edit]

Barber states that neither Jihad or McWorld needs or promotes democracy. [2]


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.


Barber sees "Jihad" as offering solidarity and protecting identities, but at the potential cost of tolerance and stability. Barber describes the solidarity needed within the concept of Jihad as being secured through exclusion and war against outsiders. As a result, he argues, different forms of anti-democratization can arise through anti-democratic one-party dictatorships, military juntas, or theocratic fundamentalism.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Barber, Benjamin (March 1992). "Jihad vs. McWorld". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  2. ^ Frank J. Lechner and John Boli., The Globalization Reader: Fourth Edition, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2012