Sunday, September 23, 2001  [!]

Just been looking at the Book Review section of the L.A. Times. Steve Wasserman has an article that explores 6 different works, called Future Shock: Why History Refuses to Give America a Reprieve from the Reality It Helped Create. Of one of the six, Jihad vs McWorld: How Globsallism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World by Benhamin R. Barber, Wasserman says:

[The book is] a coruscating and lucid look at what he insists is the underlying conflict of our times: religious and tribal fundamentalism versus secular consumerist capitalism. It offers a lens through which to understand the chaotic events of the post-Cold War world.

     Barber believes the world is simultaneously coming together and falling apart. On the one hand, corporate mergers are steadily weaving the globe into a single international market, challenging traditional notions of national sovereignty. On the other hand, the world is increasingly riven by fratricide, civil war and the breakup of nations. He argues that what capitalism and fundamentalism have in common is a distaste for democracy. [emphasis mine] Both, in different ways, lay siege to the nation-state itself--until now the only guarantor of conditions that have permitted democracy to flourish.

     Democracy, Barber suggests, may fall victim to a twin-pronged attack: by a global capitalism run rampant, whose essential driving force destroys traditional values as it seeks to maximize profit-taking at virtually any moral or religious or spiritual cost; and by religious, tribal and ethnic fanatics whose various creeds are stamped by intolerance and a rage against the "other." [read more]