Sociology Index

McWORLD

McWorld is a concept developed by Benjamin Barber (1995) to describe the new world of globalization where nation states have little power and citizenship has become meaningless as a cornerstone of democracy. This new McWorld is ruled by corporations. McWorld or multinational corporations or in Barber's terms antinational corporations see everyone simply as consumers. In this new McWorld citizens can no longer effectively use democracy to enhance or protect social values because this would interfere with the marketplace. The assumption is that the actions of countless consumers will best satisfy the social needs of communities in the McWorld. The term McWorld is a neologism related to George Ritzer's analysis of corporate culture in The McDonaldization of Society. The term Mcjob also comes from the name of the fast-food restaurant McDonald's Corporation. The concept of McDonaldization is also gaining attention in different aspects of culture with such new words as Mcworld and Mcjob.

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. 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.

McWorld was also the name of an interactive "virtual world" website launched by McDonald's in 2008 on happymeal, and aimed at children.
While the McWorld website bore some similarities to the ideas in the original McWorld campaign, such as children being in charge, it was created independently for a younger age group. McWorld was named by a vote of kids on happymeal.

Barber argues that there are several imperatives that make up the McWorld: a market imperative, a resource imperative, an information-technology imperative, and an ecological imperative. Due to globalization, our market is vulnerable to the transnational markets where free trade and exchange of currency are available. We have come up with international laws and treaties in order to maintain stability in the interconnected economy. Resources are an imperative aspect in the McWorld, where autarky seems insufficient and inefficient in presence of globalization. Barber argues that whatever a nation does to their own ecology, it affects everyone on earth. Cutting down a jungle will upset the overall oxygen balance, which affects our "global lungs". McWorld may promote peace and prosperity, but Barber sees this as being done at the cost of independence and identity.

Jihad vs. McWorld
The two axial principles of our age, tribalism and globalism, clash at every point except one: they may both be threatening to democracy by Benjamin R. Barber - The Atlantic Monthly | March 1992.
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. These imperatives have in combination achieved victory over factiousness and particularism, and not least of all over their most virulent traditional form, nationalism. 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. 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.

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.