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Barber, Benjamin. Jihad vs. McWorld: How the Planet Is Both Falling Apart and Coming Together and What This Means for Democracy. New York: Random House, 1995 (381 pp.). Although global in its outlook, this work has implications for any organization interested in civil society and citizen participation. Barber argues that democracy as we know it is threatened by two basic forces: fundamentalism, which he terms "Jihad," and our consumerist approach to nearly everything, including politics, which he labels "McWorld." Moreover, he shows that these forces are not mutually exclusive – that, in fact, nationalists use McWorld principles to advance their causes. Barber’s solution to fundamentalism and capitalism gone wild is "civil society" – that is, reestablishing frameworks outside of government and the marketplace that allow citizens once again to recapture a democracy that is in danger of being co-opted by either nationalists or Wall Street (or, more appropriately, Disneyland and Coca-Cola). What is especially helpful is the historical review of how democracy got to this point, as well has his future projections. This book appeared in the mid-90s to scholarly acclaim but little else; then it became a bestseller after 9/11 – because of "Jihad" in the title, of course, but also because six years before that tragic event, Barber seemed to accurately sketch the global picture that many Americans were trying to understand.


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