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Paper due on 09/19/2014

Assignment 7.2: Jihad vs. McWorld

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Although political scientist Benjamin Barber often comes across as more like a politician on the stump than a college professor, he is renowned as one of today’s leading voices of reason about the impact and implications of the most momentous trend of our day. In his view, globalization is at one and the same time unifying the world in ways never before imaginedand reducing it into a maze of fractious, often clashing fragments. In this assignment, your will have the opportunity to contemplate both of these paradoxical realities.

On the one hand, you will examine what Barber refers to as “McWorld”: a monoculture characterized by a population that has lost all interest in public matters preoccupied as it is with satisfaction of multiplying wants. At the other extreme, you will explore the phenomenon of often violent efforts by parochial communities around the world to protect themselves from the encroachment of Western values and mores, in fact to oppose modernity all together through the declaration of “jihad”. But make no mistake: Jihad-ists are not limited to radical Islamic groups. They exist everywhere and include neo-Nazi, paramilitary “patriot” militia, national separatists such as those in Quebec and Catalonia, and fundamentalist Christian groups to name but a few.


  1. Begin by considering the views of Benjamin Barber, professor of political science at Rutgers University, expressed in the reading assignment “Jihad vs. McWorld.”
  2. Compose a substantive position paper and post it to the designed folder in the Forum. Include the following issues:
    1. Definitions of Barber’s two primary metaphors “McWorld” and “Jihad”.
    2. A summary of the core issues Barber raises about the nature of social, cultural, and/or religious resistance to globalization.
    3. A list of “dos & don’ts” (minimum of 5) for global business to help enterprises avoid exacerbating the kinds of tensions identified by Barber.

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