McWorld is a concept developed by Benjamin Barber (1995) to
describe the new globalized world where nation states have
little power and citizenship has become meaningless as a cornerstone of democracy.
This new McWorld is ruled by corporations (multinational
corporations or in Barber's terms antinational corporations) which see everyone simply as
In this new McWorld citizens can no longer effectively use
democracy to enhance or protect social values because this would interfere with the
The assumption is that the actions of countless consumers
will best satisfy the social needs of communities in the McWorld.
McWorld is a term often used to describe the spreading of
McDonald's restaurants throughout the world as the result of globalization.
It is believed that McDonald's have been destroying
indigenous cultures in countries where they have been introduced.
The term "McWorld" is a neologism related to George Ritzer's analysis of
corporate culture in The McDonaldization of Society.
Rutgers political science professor Benjamin Barber
published an article in March 1992 titled Jihad vs. McWorld, which describes international
commercialization as one of two great clashing forces of the 21st century, the other being
tribalistic religious fundamentalism. What Benjamin Barber postulates is that
"McWorld" could ultimately win the "struggle."
McWorld was originally the name of a TV campaign for the restaurant by Leo Burnett that
ran many of its ads during Saturday morning cartoons of the early '90s, featuring the
exciting McDonald's-related happenings that would purportedly occur if kids ran the world.
Jihad vs. McWorld
The two axial principles of our agetribalism and globalismclash at every point
except one: they may both be threatening to democracy by Benjamin R. Barber, -
theatlantic.com/doc/199203/barber - The Atlantic Monthly | March 1992
Excerpt: McWorld, or the Globalization of Politics
Four imperatives make up the dynamic of McWorld: a market imperative, a resource
imperative, an information-technology imperative, and an ecological imperative. By
shrinking the world and diminishing the salience of national borders, these imperatives
have in combination achieved a considerable victory over factiousness and particularism,
and not least of all over their most virulent traditional formnationalism. It is the
realists who are now Europeans, the utopians who dream nostalgically of a resurgent
England or Germany, perhaps even a resurgent Wales or Saxony. Yesterday's wishful cry for
one world has yielded to the reality of McWorld.
You and I against McWorld
John Vidal, Saturday March 9, 1996, The Guardian
In 1990 McDonald 's served libel writs on five self-styled anarchists. Six years on, two
of them are still slugging it out. Britain's longest-ever civil trial has become an epic
battle, grinding through issues from employment, advertising, recycling and litter, to
nutrition, animal rights and deforestation. Who says the British never complain?
It's a McWorld after all
By Ira Boudway
A writer and a photographer visit 30 families around the world to show us what the world
eats -- and how industrial food is creeping into every corner of the globe. -
McWORLD ON TRIAL
By Dave Morris and Helen Steel
With an introduction from the Mclibel Support Campaign -