McWorld vs. Jihad Significant historical processes shape the world and society. The contemporary world is what we make it. Each action by our country, culture, society results in change. According to Benjamin Barber, there are two major forces shaping humans socially, and spiritually; the McWorld and Jihad.
McWorld is a term for the commercial collective of the world, and Jihad, an Arab word for “crusade”, is used to symbolize all of nationalist, fundamentalist, ethnocentric, and tribal rejections of McWorld. McWorld is a scenario of commercial and technological interdependence. It is a virtual paradise consisting of spreading markets and global technology 1. Barber states that half the time the world is striving for this McWorld but at the same time it is destroying the human spirit, turning us into mindless robots of conformity.
The people who support this goal are the creators of the “new gods”: KFC, McDonalds, MTV 1. It shapes the world because at one point, this goal of virtual paradise is linking the human race together for technological advancement and interdependency. However at the same time it is taking our values and twisting them to the point where mass murders and acts of terrorism effects us on a lower scale than that of a stock merger. Jihad consists of the all the “crusades” of tribes and peoples fighting for Babel 1.
Babel is the world that is full of ideals: all that is against technology, pop-culture, and modernity itself 1. The world, however, will not work solely on one side of the McWorld-Jihad spectrum. The solution, according to Barber, is the ideology of Nationalism 1. Barber goes on stating that, “Nationalism established government on a scale greater than the tribe yet less cosmopolitan than the universal church and in time and birth to those intermediate, gradually more democratic institutions that would come to constitute the nation-state.” Additionally, Barbe says that the present day society is currently striving to recreate a world in which our only choices is either McWorld or Jihad, when in truth both have lost their democratic virtues 1. To conclude, Jihad and McWorld are not really in competition, they compliment and balance each other out as Barber states in his writings.
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There is always a middle gr 1 o und or mixture of the two scenarios. For example, Iranian zealots keep one ear tuned to the mullahs urging holy war and the other cocked to television mogul Rupert Murdoh’s Star television beaming Dynasty, Donahue, and the Simpsons 1. The relationship between McWorld and Jihad is the most interesting. Jihad not only revolts but abets McWorld, and while McWorld not only imperils but recreates and reinforces Jihad 1; much like Ying and Yang. The relationship and the constant shift in domination is what appears to be shaping the contemporary world today.