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Posted on September 4th, 2012, by

The development of the modern world is characterized by the strengthening trend to the globalization of international economic relations, politics and culture. The process of globalization implies the closer integration and unification of economies, politics and cultures, which naturally leads to the elimination of local or national peculiarities. At the same time, the process of globalization often confronts a strong opposition from the part of radical movements, especially in the third world countries, where the process of globalization is closely associated with the concept of Americanization or westernization of the world. In such a way, the opposition to the globalization from the part of radical movements, which are supported by a large part of the local population of the third world countries, leads to the confrontation between proponents and opponents of the process of globalization. In practice, this leads to the confrontation between developed countries and the third world countries. In such a context, it is quite noteworthy that processes that take place in the modern world economy, politics and culture were predicted, in a way, by Benjamin R. Barber in his article “Jihad vs. McWorld”ť written in 1992, where the author presented his views on the future development of the world. In fact, his forecast proved to be quite precise and it is important to take into consideration the warning the author makes in the article that the democracy is under a threat. Therefore, in the modern globalized world, it is important to search for compromises with the help of which it is possible to avoid the ongoing confrontation and radicalization of relationships between developed countries and the third world. In this respect, the scientific progress and the development of information technologies can be very important and helpful to avoid conflicts between developed countries and the third world and its radical movements, but the problem of the integration of the third world into the new post-industrial, information world community arises because the technological backwardness of developing countries is likely to put them in a disadvantageous position in the new world, where information technologies and telecommunications rule. In other words, information technologies accelerate the process of globalization, but, on the other hand, they widen the gap between developed and developing countries even more.

On analyzing the article “Jihad vs. McWorld”ť by Benjamin R. Barber, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the article was written shortly after the end of the Cold War and the author apparently attempted to rethink the traditional view on the development of the world and forecast the emergence of the new world order. At the same time, the author’s main concern is the preservation of democracy, which he believes being under a threat. To put it more precisely, Barber suggests two scenarios of the development of the world and both of them are quite pessimistic. The author predicted the decline of the democracy in its traditional form and the strengthening of negative trends in the world’s politics, economy and culture as well as international relations between developed countries and the third world. Remarkably, he argues that the scenarios of the future development of the world are antagonistic by their nature.

Barber suggested that the world would develop under the impact of two major trends: globalization and tribalization. He symbolically defines these two trends as McWorld and Jihad respectively. The development of McWorld is actually the process of globalization, which implies the close integration of all countries and the elimination of national frontiers and differences between countries. In actuality, Barber argued that the globalization will undermine the democracy and increase the risk of conflicts between developed countries and the third world. The author argued that the globalization will be accompanied by the strengthening of developed countries and weakening of developing ones. In practice, this would lead to the development of a homogeneous world culture, where the economic integration will encourage the closer cultural interaction. In this respect, it is possible to estimate that the forecast of Barber concerning the outcomes of the globalization proved to be correct because under the impact of the development of information technologies, the growing economic integration of the world leads to the creation of McWorld, which implies the westernization of the world’s culture. In such a context, the warning of Barber concerning the danger of the loss of cultural identity is particularly important, since, today, many specialists (Gomory , 2002) argue about the Americanization of the world culture.

In this respect, it is quite noteworthy that Barber viewed globalization as a danger to democracy, but, in actuality, globalization is viewed as a tool with the help of which democracy is spread worldwide. At any rate, today, the USA, being the only superpower in the world, conducts aggressive foreign policies on the pretext of the democratization of the world or protection of democracy in the world. In fact, it is the protection of democratic rights which were used as pretext for the interference of the NATO into the conflict in Kosovo, since the US and its allies protected the local population from the violation of their human rights by Serbs. In the 21st century, the US attempted to democratize Iraq as well as Afghanistan, although democratic principles and ideas are absolutely unknown to the local population, which lives in accordance to its traditional laws, including Islamic laws.

In such a context, another negative trend, which Barber described in his article as tribalization or Jihad, does take place in the modern world. To put it more precisely, Barber argued that tribalization or Jihad would be an attempt of the population of the third world to preserve their national culture and identity. In this respect, it is possible to agree with the author in regard to the radicalization of the population of the third world. However, it is important to understand that the preservation of cultural identity is not the main point or reason of such radicalization, or Jihad as Barber defined it. Naturally, Barber is partially write when he argues that people living in the third world countries use their traditional cultural and religious views as instruments with the help of which they can preserve their culture. But, in actuality, it is important to understand that the main reason for the radicalization of the third world and emergence of Jihad in Barber’s interpretation of this term has not only cultural but also and mainly economic reason. The economic disparity is a crucial factor that defines the radicalization of the third world and its opposition to the globalization or McWorld.

Obviously, the pauperization of the third world and the ongoing deterioration of the economic situation in developing countries makes the local population turn to traditional religious and cultural values, which people associate with stability and prosperity. They believe that, if they return to their old traditions and if they live in accordance to their religious norms and beliefs, they will build up a new, better society.

In such a way, radicalization and focus on the national culture, traditions and norms is a response of the population of developing countries to the growing disparity between developed and developing countries. Thus, the third world countries use their identity as a means of opposition to developed countries, but it is necessary to shift the emphasis from cultural, which prevails in Barber’s article, toward economic domain.

In such a context, the emergence of information technologies is an important factor that determines the fast economic progress of the world, but it is important to understand that information technologies progress rapidly in the developed countries, while they are available to a few in developing countries, where the level of income and education are insufficient to introduce information technologies en masse.

As a result, the population of developing countries is doomed to live in poverty and technological backwardness becomes another factor that accelerates globalization, which, in its turn, widens the gap between developed and developing countries. The widening gap leads to the tribalization as a response of the third world to globalization. Obviously, the radicalization of the third world will grow stronger, if globalization headed and inspired by developed countries fails to improve the economic situation in developing countries.

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