The Issue of the Cultural and Civilisational Dominant

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Theme of the universal global civilisation opens up an enormous issue – that of the cultural and civilisational dominant, of the role and function of imitation, of cultural export and imperialism, etc. This issue was opened up in full colour by Benjamin R. Barber in his book Jihad versus McWorld (1995). Barber points out strongly that we should not fall to the illusion that we live in a globalising world. No, we live in a two-scenario world (incidentally, most globalisation theories necessarily involve a prognostic-futurological dimension, consequently scenarios for future development), in two co-existing alternative worlds, each of which is built upon different principles. One of them is – metaphorically speaking – the world of Jihad, of tribal wars and national and ethnic identities; a world which returns large groups of people to a tribal level leaving them at the mercy of particular prejudices; a world which is against modern technology and modern mass culture. Under the other scenario, we live in a world gradually interconnected with fast technologies, fast computers, fast music, and fast food at McDonald’s. Incidentally, McDonald’s has a tremendous credit for the propagation of the globalisation topic. Most metaphors and caricatures use the Mc as an adjective of judgement. Barber writes, ‘MTV, MacIntosh, McDonald’s are the symbols of this global world. Thanks to them the whole world is turning into a single theme park, into a McWorld interwoven with information and communication devices, entertainment and business. From the Tower of Babel to Disneyland, our planet is fast falling apart and unifying fiercely at the same time, with both the processes concurrent.’ (Barber 1995)