Can McDonald’s Prevent The Next World War?
Before you say anything, give me a chance to explain.
The approach in our blog title does not belong to me. The origin of the idea comes from New York Times writer Thomas Friedman. His “Foreign Affairs Big Mac I” article has a cynical approach that I would like to discuss.
Friedman’s argument goes like this:
No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.
The meaning narrows down a lot when I look at the situation from this point of view, I know.
This claim later became widely used in other books of the author under the “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention” approach. The basic assumption behind the insight is related to globalization and economic development. If countries have a middle class strong enough to support the McDonald’s franchise system, this insight assumes that those countries will not be interested in war. The author calls these countries “Mcdonald’s countries” claims that governments have more to lose by going into battle.
I would like to state that this thesis still stands despite a few exceptions. There is a big trend about globalization that everyone should be aware of. A “middle class” is rising worldwide with similar consumption habits and doing similar jobs. I’m talking about the “qualified” middle class who watch Netflix, go to Starbucks, eat McDonald’s, follow the world on Twitter. Understanding this class and solving its needs are the marketing problems of the future. (Subject for another article)
When we look at the general characteristics of the middle class, we see a more educated, more technically equipped mass. They are open to the global world, can choose different countries for vacation, are distant from nationalism and religion, and far from ideologies — arguably the most valuable workforce for countries. We are talking about people who produce economic value and develop the country.
You can see how the middle class has expanded in developed economies in the table below. (I could not find more up-to-date data. If you have it, please share it; I would love to update.)
The income distribution change between 2001 and 2011 is just below. The low-income group of Asia and Africa is hardly surprising. In Europe and North America, we encounter the “middle class” that Friedman speaks of.
(Russia 755, Ukraine 101), Friedman seems badly mistaken. McDonald’s certainly did not stop this conflict, but it will most likely prevent it from spreading to Europe and escalating into a world war.
If we look at the issue as a reductionist and look at the McDonald’s franchise presence in countries (Russia 755, Ukraine 101), Friedman seems badly mistaken. McDonald’s certainly did not stop this conflict, but it will most likely prevent it from spreading to Europe and escalating into a world war.
If we leave aside Friedman’s cynical narrow definition and approach it from the “middle income” perspective, we can say that he was right. It is evident that we cannot call both countries McDonald’s country. The middle class makes up only 14% of Russia. Russia is a country with nothing to lose. In recent years, the economy has been getting worse, and income distribution has deteriorated further. Similarly, Ukraine is a country where poverty is widespread. It seems that McDonald’s will not be able to stop this war, but it can prevent a world war.