The nation-state strongly depends on democracy for its survival both in the past and today. However, one of the key factors that has since led to the deterioration of democracy across the globe in the present-society is McRevolution. Typical cases in point revolve around Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution of France” and Benjamin Barber’s “Jihad vs. McWorld.” In 1790, Burke published the book in question, warning Europe and Britain of the potential danger of the French Revolution, which was primarily characterized by violent upheaval (Burke, 1790). Burke argued that the real threat attributable the revolution involved its ideology, which could not only cross borders, but also corrupt the people’s hearts and minds in every European country and neighboring states.
Burke’s greatest fear was that Jacobin and related ideologies would play a central role in undermining and eventually destroying the European civilization as well as British constitution (Burke, 1790). As such, the political scientist wanted Britain in collaboration with its allies to vehemently oppose and crush the ideology before it could adversely impact their sovereignty and wellbeing. Consequently, Burke’s work was extensively read and led to serious and acrimonious debates.
In 1995, Barber employed Burke’s approach and published his book, warning liberal democracies, including the United States (U.S.) of the imminent threat resulting from McWorld and Jihad. He defines McWorld or globalism as the various globalization processes inspired by capitalism and consumer-monopolizing ideology. According to Barber (1995), Jihad or retribalization refers to the often violent religious, ethnic, and racial backlashes against the capitalism’s global expansion, which is responsible for the rapid homogenization of soul and society.
Barber asserts that McWorld’s real threat revolves around its videology, which continue to cross and corrupt borders and people’s minds and hearts in the world, respectively. Jihad, on the other hand, costs tolerance and global stability (Barber, 1995). However, Barber argues that both core tenets of this age tend to support each other. In response, this paper employs a holistic approach to examining how McRevolution through its two components, Jihad and McWorld undermine the existence of the nation-state and democracy in the world today.
The McRevolution experienced in international affairs has two major forces, including Jihad and McWorld. As stated earlier, McWorld comprises the various ways through which globally-expansionist capitalism directly or indirectly presses nations into a universal, homogenous theme park or market, tied together by commerce, communication, entertainment, and information (Barber, 1995). It involves an ongoing reality in which everything in the world is imagineered, contrived, and artificial, except profit.
In addition, culture, concepts of community, individual responsibility, and various notions of civic and related responsibility, democracy, and political accountability are jettisoned and overlooked in favor of profit maximization. As result, it reduces meaning of life to visiting a mall, eating at McDonald’s and watching MTV (Lechner, 2015). McWorld remains both a powerful and comprehensive tenet of our age. The forces behind its creation function by undermining communities, destroying democracy, corrupting the individual source, reducing international and associated relations to non-basic activities, such as visiting theme parks, and eroding the nation-state.
Jihad describes the yearning to gradually recapture the world, which was defined by hierarchical communities, historical torpor, spellbinding traditions, religious mysteries, and existed before cosmopolitan capitalism. In essence, it represents a force strongly opposed to the profit maximizing spirit and homogenizing culture of McWorld. Jihad is a kind of post-modern nationalism whose target is the nation-state (Barber, 1995). Some of the key examples of retribalization include Jihad within democracies and Asia, with the latter more often taking two forms. The first form is internal Jihad against some Asian states, spearheaded by cultural minorities. The second form is external Jihad in which Asian states reassert their values against McWorld or western ones. At the same time, there is retribalization within transitional democracies. This type of Jihad tends to assume tribal forms, which are both antimodern and antipluralist (Lechner, 2015). Jihad experienced in the Islamic world opposes McWorld on the basis of religious tenets or doctrines.
Causes of McRevolution. McWorld rose and continue to dominate the world because of dependence on foreign natural resources. The sources of these resources have so far eliminated economic self-sufficiency in the developing world, and thus rendered debate and related discussion about natural as well as national independence increasingly irrelevant (Barber, 1995). The resources imperative is fast embodied the enhanced interdependence, which McWorld needs for its survival. At the same, it embodies the potential Jihad weakness-traits, such as injustice and divisiveness. For example, the existing discrepancies involving the use of energy and mineral sources between developing and developed economies are responsible for the rise of globalism and retribalization.
The patterns involving resource usage at the international level weaken the nation-state, particularly through the agitation spearheaded by anti-modern political groups or forces within states and dependence on foreign energy and mineral sources. Post-modern nationalists remain opposed to parties exporting their natural resources to the already developed countries (Cottam & Cottam, 2001). On the same note, industrial production is no longer a national activity because McWorld has since transformed it into a transnational endeavor. For this reason, it functions by undermining the nation-state. Apart from these dynamics, most powerful dynamic for McRevolution involves the ongoing transition from industrial products or hard goods to knowledge, entertainment, and information or soft goods (Fidler, 1996). With the changing nature of technological innovations, these soft goods are converted to services known as the infotainment telesector.
According to Barber (1995), the growing economic power attributable to telecommunication, entertainment services, and information serve as the cutting edge of McRevolution as well as the source of dangers to democracy. Today, it is evidently clear that the increasing importance of the infotainment telesector remains responsible for the frenzy witnessed in media acquisitions and mergers across the globe (Fidler, 1996). Defined as a post-modern ideology, which plays a pivotal role in trumpeting consumption and materialism as end through the powerful, homogenized telecommunications medium, telesector videology lurks within the infotainment sector.
The primary goal of telesector videology revolves around creating and perpetuating Planet Hollywood. This means that McWorld is not only an economic transformation process in international affairs, but also a major political event (Lechner, 2015). With its key targets being cultural and political institutions, which hinder the whole process of promoting values needed for material consumption, McWorld searches citizens as consumers, not democrats. This can be seen when governments appear helpless when multinational companies (MNCs) create and maintain monopolies.
Although Jihad serves a conglomeration of value-based reactionary efforts against McWorld, these forces are dialectical, with globalism fostering and nurturing retribalization, and Jihad nurturing McWorld (Barber, 1995). It seems an illogical relationship because of the differences between the two forces. However, this relationship is based on culture, as a major commodity. On a broader note, McWorld typically needs cultural diversity, which is the seedbed or foundation of Jihad to successfully sell cultural homogeneity. Ironically, Jihad’s real constitutes the very emerging and universal market of McWorld (Fidler, 1996). Furthermore, Jihad unknowingly prepares and maintains the path needed by McWorld by hampering the stability of the nation-state. It also discredits notions of cultural conservation and diversity. In this dialectic, Jihad is a potential loser in the long term because as McWorld makes a nation’s border porous, it weakens the nation-state from within.
Democracy. In the previous section, I have categorically made reference to Barber and like-minded scholars or political scientists that McWorld functions as one of the gravest threats to the nation-state, human soul, democracy, and civil society. According to Barber (1995), globalism is essentially a damaging, two-pronged attack on a country and world’s democracy. First, it plays a central role in inculcating materialistic values into the lives or experiences of its victims by reducing their capacity with the sole purpose of crating and sustaining dynamics and institutions of civil society, including community spirit and identity, churches, schools, and civic organizations. Typically, a healthy democracy remains inextricably linked to a functional or active civil society (Ferree & Tripp, 2006). Independent civil societies help in a great deal in developing a people’s capacity to run a democratic government. Unfortunately, McWorld erodes people’s ability to effectively deliberate about key public goods because it serves the passion and promotes personal gratification.
As mentioned earlier, Jihad is inhospitable to democracy, while globalization is indifferent to it. One of the commonest characteristics between these two forces is neither McWorld nor retribalization cares about individual citizens (Barber, 1995). The various attractions of Jihad and McWorld do not have anything with democracy. Inasmuch as globalism as a new ideology more often fight for affluence and harmony, it can only advocate these very attractions when they are well-positioned to support and promotes its goal, proficient economic consumption and production (Fidler, 1996). A typical case in point involves the inability of McWorld to oppose tyrants or dictators, who massacre and oppress their own subjects at will. As long as the oppressor’s activities and related social vices do not disrupt the smooth functioning of the universal market, globalists rarely show any concern.
The same applies to Jihad, which functions by providing solidarity and promoting multiculturalism at the cost of peace with neighbors. It is characterized by parochialism and bigotry, negative attitudes that undermine democratic perspectives. In its attempt to protect identities, Jihad does so at the cost of stability and tolerance. In essence, the solidarity needed for the survival of Jihad is usually secured not only through war against and exclusion of outsiders. Therefore, Jihad leads to the rise of different forms of anti-democratization, including one-party dictatorships, theocratic fundamentalism, and military juntas.
The nation-state. In relation to democracy, McWorld destroys the nation-state. According to available literature on governance and political ideologies, the nation-state is the main foundation and determinant of democratic politics (Lechner, 2015; Ferree & Tripp, 2006). The fact that both city-state and global democracies are undoubtedly unrealistic, sociologists and political analysts argue that the historical relationship between the nation-state and democracy remains a necessity for future democracy (Fidler, 1996). However, while democracies prefer and relate perfectly well to markets, global or universal markets do not prefer democracy, and instead offer false democratic solutions to continue selling their cultural diversity.
Economic imperialism. McWorld has led to the introduction of many neo-colonial projects, particularly in the third world countries. In Africa, for instance, first time world money lenders have left their countries bankrupt. In essence, these large and numerous boondoggles have since made poor nations debt-ridden (Barber, 1995). This economic imperialism becomes more evident when the World Bank offers to refinance such debts. The poor debtor countries are compelled to accept stringent repayment terms, which but no limited to the neoliberal restructuring of their economies (Ferree & Tripp, 2006). Consequently, whatever little money the country had for development and social services is siphoned away as way of debt maintenance.
Culture. Globalization is one of the major powers that destroy the culture, tradition, and tradition of a wide range of ethnic groups across the globe. According to anti-globalists, McWorld is a nightmare, which happens now and will continue affecting their societies for generations to come (Barber, 1995). Some of the common effects of globalism evident in the present-day society include the adoption of and overindulgence in Western television series, eating McDonald’s wearing Adidas clothing, speaking a different language, such as Americanized English slang, drinking Coca Cola or Starbucks, and listening to iPods (Natalie, 2010). This serves as a clear demonstration of the Western cultural dominance over other cultures in the world.
When science and technological innovations developed in Western countries, other regions, including Africa and Asia placed great emphasis borrowing this technology. As such, both the values and ideas originated in Europe and the U.S. became the standards of and practice in the whole world. In short, ideas and products directly attributable to rich countries or geographical areas continue to shape the ideas and values adopted and practiced by people from poor nations.
Nationalism. Globalization diminishes nationalism. The McRevolution functions as the anti-thesis of what nationalists stand for, which includes the protection of a nation-state’s boundary, values, and practices (Natalie, 2010). McWorld believes in and suggests that we only have one globe, and thus boundaries should be disregarded, more so when it comes economic production as well as consumption. Briefly speaking, the supposed importance of nationalism tends to diminish, as we continue to ignore the threat posed by McWorld to our boundaries. It shrinks and makes national borders irrelevant (Cottam & Cottam, 2001). This, with globalization, nationalists are fast losing the needed power and support to effectively keep people from a given nation-state together. It becomes quite difficult to determine between different nationalities.
In his book “McWorld vs. Jihad” Barber offers a change-driven solution or remedy to the McRevolution. In particular, the solution relies on confederalism. As a global counter-revolution, establishing a confederalist system would require people to abandon the many ideas of international law and global government (Barber, 1995). It wants us to consider partitioning nation-states further with the sole purpose of embracing a global confederal policy and strategy. Doing so would involve the whole process of reforming the entire international system by adopting and integrating a more acceptable model. A confederal counter-revolution would provide a viable alternative, as it gives nation-states sufficient time and the opportunity to live in harmoniously with others, while discovering more integrative remedies to issues facing them (Koschut, 2016). It means that an international confederal system allows people to acquire and maintain the tolerance, loyalty, and trust.
Establishing a confederalized representative governance system would play an integral role in spreading and securing democracy throughout the world, and thus satisfying the various McWorld and Jihad needs. A confederal system is not only concerned about the universal rule of law, accountability, and the protection of minority groups (Barber, 1995; Koschut, 2016). In this way, it would serve a wide range of political needs of globalization. In the face of dull realities about McWorld and the brutal characteristics of Jihad, the most attractive and a more democratic ideal would be establish a confederal union. Semi-autonomous communities, especially those that are relatively smaller than nation-states should be tied together to form regional economic markets and large associations (Barber, 1995). Under such confederal union, these associations would be self-determining and participatory in their local matters, and accountable and representative at the top. In other words, the driving force behind confederalism is to ensure that the nation-state plays a diminished role, with sovereignty losing some of its earlier powerful political potency.