Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy from Ballantine Books

Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy from Ballantine Books
Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy from Ballantine Books Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy from Ballantine Books Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy from Ballantine Books (click images to enlarge)

Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy from Ballantine Books

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Jihad vs. McWorld is a groundbreaking work, an elegant and illuminating analysis of the central conflict of our times: consumerist capitalism versus religious and tribal fundamentalism. These diametrically opposed but strangely intertwined forces are tearing apart--and bringing together--the world as we know it, undermining democracy and the nation-state on which it depends.

On the one hand, consumer capitalism on the global level is rapidly dissolving the social and economic barriers between nations, transforming the world's diverse populations into a blandly uniform market. On the other hand, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds are fragmenting the political landscape into smaller and smaller tribal units. Jihad vs. McWorld is the term that distinguished writer and political scientist Benjamin R. Barber has coined to describe the powerful and paradoxical interdependence of these forces. In this important new book, he explores the alarming repercussions of this potent dialectic for democracy.

A work of persuasive originality and penetrating insight, Jihad vs. McWorld holds up a sharp, clear lens to the dangerous chaos of the post-Cold War world. Critics and political leaders have already heralded Benjamin R. Barber's work for its bold vision and moral courage. Jihad vs. McWorld is an essential text for anyone who wants to understand our troubled present and the crisis threatening our future.

As soon as you hear the conceit of this book--that there are two great opposing forces at work in the world today, border-crossing capitalism and splintering factionalism, and that they are the two biggest threats to democracy--you know it rings true enough to be worth reading. Although capitalism could have only grown to current levels in the soil of democracies, Benjamin Barber argues that global capitalism now tends to work against the very concept of citizenship, of people thinking for themselves and with their neighbors. Too often now, how we think is the product of a transnational corporation (increasingly, a media corporation) with headquarters elsewhere. And although self-determination is one of the most fundamental of democratic principles, unchecked it has lead to a tribalism (think Bosnia, think Rwanda) in which virtually no one besides the local power elite gets a fair shake. The antidote, Barber concludes, is to work everywhere to resuscitate the non-governmental, non-business spaces in life--he calls them "civic spaces" (such as the village green, voluntary associations of every sort, churches, community schools)--where true citizenship thrives.

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