“What I mean is that, under the onslaught of the placeless, transnational capital McDonald’s exemplifies, democracy as a living system withers and dies. The old forms and forums still exist – parliaments and congresses remain standing – but the power they once contained seeps away, re-emerging where we can no longer reach it.” – very well stated [TSJ]


The Golden Arches Theory of Decline
Why is there a worldwide revolt against politics as usual? Because corporate globalisation has crushed democratic choice.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 6th December 2016
A wave of revulsion rolls around the world. Approval ratings for incumbent leaders are everywhere collapsing. Symbols, slogans and sensation trump facts and nuanced argument. One in six Americans now believes that military rule would be a good idea. From all this I draw the following, peculiar conclusion: no country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy.
Twenty years ago, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman proposed his “golden arches theory of conflict prevention”. This holds that “no two countries that both have McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other since they each got their McDonald’s”.
Friedman’s was one of several end-of-history narratives suggesting that global capitalism would lead to permanent peace. He claimed…

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7 thoughts on “The Golden Arches Theory of Decline #auspol 

  1. I subscribe to Monbiot, so already read that. Good article.

    But, as usual, I have the uncomfortable questions following such reads… the ones no one wants to hear (or read).

    Quote: “One of the answers to Trump, Putin, Orban, Erdogan, Salvini, Duterte, Le Pen, Farage and the politics they represent is to rescue democracy from transnational corporations. It is to defend the crucial political unit that’s under assault by banks, monopolies and chainstores: community. It is to recognise that there is no greater hazard to peace between nations than a corporate model which crushes democratic choice.

    My question: there are two types of people in our western “educated” societies: those who know the above and those who, no matter what, well remain Archie Bunkers. Long ago when these things began, many of us protested, warned, joined political movements to prevent this predatory capitalism from taking over our communities, cities, nations and world. Some of us died; some ended up with prison sentences; many of us lost our families, jobs and whatever reputations we could have had. We were loud, dedicated, self-sacrificing, angry… and we were considered the scum of the earth for daring to come between unions and working people and their dream of the good life as offered by the corporations.

    Corporate reps had one standard, guaranteed to work, line at public meetings and in the news media: job creation and bringing in prosperity. They were always creating jobs while destroying them; always filling the city’s tax coffers while draining them, always bringing the good life while destroying farmland, polluting rivers and the air.

    They could have been stopped, controlled, then. Now? Mr Monbiot, obviously a late comer to awaken to a predictable reality, says “rescue democracy from transnational corporations.” A wonderful idea, and who’s going to bell the out of control cat? Where is the will, the power, the wherewithal to bring about real change now? Trump just got elected by millions of Archie Bunkers. These others he mentions will also be elected by the same mindset. From the frying pan into the fires of hell, that’s where civilization is going because it hasn’t got a clue how to extricate itself from the expanding swamp. Any fool with half a brain cell would have known what Trump was all about, or anyone of his ilk. Trump and Co are not draining the swamp, they’re putting in more alligators and ensuring they’re going to be very, very, well fed.

    My final question, to those who keep saying we need to do this or that or the other to bring back democracy is a simple: How? It won’t be with money, we don’t have any, they made sure of that. It won’t be through open free speech and free demonstration, we’re essentially in security lock-down, the truncheons already well oiled with blood from DAPL protests and others. It won’t be through editorials in the main stream media. It won’t be from positive TV interviews granted our “leaders” should anyone care to take on that position. What new idea do “we must do something” promoters have? Guns?

    Reminds me of an unforgettable editorial cartoon from our protest days. I bunch of turkeys have been rounded up in a pen just before thanksgiving. The biggest gobbler decides to become the leader and says, “Now that we’re organized, what do we do?”


  2. Sha’Tara,
    You’ve tapped into my thoughts exactly. The more I read, the more I hear that question in my brain – just HOW to turn the clock back? It seems to be an impossible task. Although I don’t like to think that the same political scenario can happen here in Canada, I can certainly see that there is the potential. As I’ve said before, I lean towards optimism because I have grandchildren. However, I’m also a realist. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too have grandchildren, but I do not worry about them any more than I “worry” about the children of Iraq, or Syria, or Palestine, or Yemen. Children are children, everywhere. We need to address the very real sickness that attacks them and kills them, even if it means we don’t “make” any more of them, thus bringing the species and its mad civilization to its end by refusal to contribute to its pool of victims any longer.
      As to turning the clock back, it cannot be done and even if it were possible, it would be the wrong choice. All that exists “back there” are tried and failed solutions to civilization’s downfall. If you think about it, Trump IS a prime example of a turning back of the clock, and quote, “Let’s make America great AGAIN.” There is no question that America never was great, quite the opposite, but the idea pushed by the ignorant, narcissist, sociopath billionaire settled upon a backward-looking mob like roundup on a GMO crop. The social-economic-environmental condition of earth is so critical that any proposed solution has to be (r)evolutionary new. Since our past is only made up of stuff that ended up not working, we cannot look there.
      Ask me if I have a solution, and I will tell you that I have one, just one; that it is globally and universally applicable, and totally independent of any and all organizations and belief systems. I will leave it there, with the tantalizing (or not) “What is it, then?”


      • I won’t ask because I have an idea it will be something like, “Humanity needs to hold its breath for five minutes” or something as dire. 🙂

        I just cannot be that pessimistic. It’s not in my nature.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That made me laugh out loud! I had someone once call me the most optimistic pessimist they’d ever met. I made a lifetime of studying people from every angle possible, my conclusions mostly relying on personal observation and interaction, projecting my own little world over the entire globe, thinking, “people are people everywhere” and indeed they are. Therefore if there were a solution to man’s problems, which are now so serious they can only be solved by a genuine miracle, I could work that solution locally and know that it is universally applicable. I found it, of course. I call it compassion through self empowerment. Key word: compassion. Compassion is the opposite of selfishness, and mankind is a thoroughly selfish species. Our problems can all be traced back to personal selfishness gone off the rail due to many factors based on a belief in entitlement and refusal to accept responsibility on a personal level for the “troubles” we are immersed and enmeshed in.

          When I write, or speak, the word, compassion now it is much more than just a word. I can feel a surge of energy within, a desire to be so much more than my human nature gives me. It’s a driving force, and that’s the miracle of empowerment. I know it is totally within the realm of possibility, and that it is in all likelihood man’s last chance.


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