In Mumbai, there is a McDonald's restaurant which doesn't serve beef. If Ray Kroc were told in 1954 that there would be a McDonald's in India which served no hamburgers, he would likely laugh in their face. Indeed, it is probably equally puzzling to the Indians who queue up there every day. However, this is the nature of 21st century society. McDonald's didn't open up a franchise to sell hamburgers in India, they set it up to sell anything in India, because the golden arches are a more important tool of attraction than any single dish. McDonald's, from atop their pedestal at the head of globalized culture and international recognition, can go anywhere and everywhere and be received with open arms. But is this trend to the benefit or detriment to the receiving culture?
In the Middle East, Sheiks drive Range Rovers to their pilgrimage. Luxury hotels now tower over the Kaaba of Mecca.
Osama Bin Laden himself expressed his disgust at the changing nature of his homeland of Saudi Arabia. He lashed out at the West due to what he saw as a domineering alien culture which was now imposing itself on even the institutions and proclivities that he found most sacred-those of a religious nature. Mystic reverence and simplicity was replaced with bombast and complexity. The enigmatic world of Islam which was so adored by bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda allies was being supplanted, at least in their eyes, by a coldly rational world of profit and efficiency that is western neoliberalism.
The question of whether the rationalizing system of western capitalism which has become firmly rooted in every area of the world is a fundamentally progressive or regressive is far too nuanced a debate to go into detail. The true question is whether this global cultural force...