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Die Globalisierungsfalle: Der Angriff auf Demokratie und Wohlstand is a 1996 non-fiction book by Hans-Peter Martin (born 1957 in Bregenz, Austria), and Harald Schumann (born 1957 in Kassel, Germany), that describes possible implications of current trends in globalisation. It was published in English as The Global Trap: Globalization and the Assault on Democracy and Prosperity in 1997. At this time, both authors were editors of the news magazine Der Spiegel. From 1999 to 2014, Hans-Peter Martin, who is stated in the book to be one of just three journalists to be allowed to take part in all activities at the Fairmont convention, was a member of the European Parliament.

The Global Trap
U.S. paperback cover
Original titleDie Globalisierungsfalle: Der Angriff auf Demokratie und Wohlstand
Technology and society
Published1996 Rowohlt Verlag
Media typePrint (Paperback and Hardcover)
Pages351 pp (first edition)

The book was a best-seller in the author's native Austria and Germany[1] and went on to be a worldwide bestseller with over 800,000 copies sold and translated into 27 languages.

In particular, the book is known for defining a possible "20/80 society". In this possible society of the 21st century, 20 percent of the working age population will be enough to keep the world economy going. The other 80 percent live on some form of welfare and are entertained with a concept called "tittytainment",[2] which aims at keeping the 80 percent of frustrated citizens happy with a mixture of deadeningly predictable, lowest common denominator entertainment for the soul and nourishment for the body.


The book deals mainly with the effects of globalization. It describes a growing social divide as a result of "delimitation" of the economy and a loss of political control by the state over the economic development, which is increasingly controlled by global corporations. The authors warn of a so-called "20-to-80-society"[3]. They describe how a global 80:20 distribution already exists in many aspects, and illustrate possible economic, social and political consequences of free trade and deregulated financial markets.

In the beginning, they describe how at a conference at the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev with 500 leading politicians, business leaders and academics from all continents[4] from September 27 - October 1st 1995 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, the term "one-fifth-society" arose. The authors describe an increase in productivity caused by the decrease in the amount of work, so this could be done by one-fifth of the global labor force and leave four-fifths of the working age people out of work. The authors predict huge number of unemployed,[5] perhaps finding themselves in low-paid voluntary community services to boost their morale.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hugh Aldersey-Williams (5 March 1998). "It's advertising, but not as we know it". The Independent. Retrieved March 30, 2011. The new world of brands is not a pretty place according to The Global Trap: Civilisation and the Assault on Democracy and Prosperity, by Hans Peter Martin and Harald Schumann. The German best-seller outlines the scenario as companies react to new technology and globalisation. Ultimately, a few global brands will grow to dominate, driving down taxes, starving public services of funds. Nike is one of its principal villains.
  2. ^ "Workplace Faith". Retrieved 4 May 2014. Certain trends in society indicate that there could be several painful good-byes. In September 1995, there was an assembly of experienced world leaders in the famous Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Among them were Mikhail Gorbachev, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, and George Schultz. There were also certain business magnates, key players in the IT field, as well as equally respected financiers and professors from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford. This "global braintrust" predicted that just 20 percent of the world's workforce will be sufficient to keep world economy going. Just one-fifth of the workforce is needed. The pragmatists in the Fairmont Hotel summed up our future in the ration "20:80" and the phrase "tittitainment." In other words, 20 percent of the world's workforce will live a very active life, earn money, and have the capacity to be good consumers, regardless of which country they come from. But what about the rest, the other 80 percent? For them the future will be very different, as one of the leaders put it, "To have lunch - or be lunch!" Mr Abigniew Brzezinski, the former advisor to Jimmy Carter, coined the word "Tittitainment." This word is a combination between "entertainment" and "tits" - American slang word for female breasts. It describes the need for plenty of entertainment and enough food to keep the world's frustrated 80 percent in a good mood! What a world to live in! We could be describing the Roman Empire just before its fall.
  3. ^ "Tittytainment". Retrieved 24 July 2017. ...The pragmatists in the Fairmont Hotel reduce the future to a pair of numbers and a term: "20 to 80" and "tittytainment". 20 percent of the working age population will be enough in the coming century to keep the world economy going. "More workers will not be needed", said magnate Washington SyCip. A fifth of all jobseekers will be enough to produce all the goods and perform all the top-flight services that the world society can afford.... What about the others? Will 80 percent of those willing to work be without a job? "Certainly"... The question in the future will be "to have lunch or be lunch", to eat or be devoured. ....The term "tittytainment" makes the rounds... The frustrated population of the world could be kept happy with a mixture of numbing entertainment and adequate food. The managers soberly discuss the possible doses and reflect how the wealthy fifth can employ the superfluous remnant.... The organizers of the three memorable days in the Fairmont imagined themselves underway to a new civilization. However, the direction envisaged by the assembled experts from the executive floors and science leads directly back into the pre-modern age... The world model of the future follows the formula 20 to 80. The one-fifth society is brewing in which the excluded will be immobilized with "tittytainment".
  4. ^ "What about the global poor? Globalisation from above and below" (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2014. The Foundation, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev convened a meeting to discuss the global situation inviting politicians like George Bush and Margaret Thatcher, corporate heavyweights like Ted Turner of CNN, John Gage of Sun Microsystems, Southeast Asian magnate SyCip, global players in finance, as well as academics from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford. The press was noticeably kept out of the picture.
  5. ^ "The Fairmont Conference". Retrieved 14 July 2014. There was no tolerance with wasted time at this conference: 5 minutes for each speaker, and 2 minutes for each comment. The condensed results of the future that the invitees came out with were terse, a cryptic duo: "20-80," and "Tittytainment." "20-80" represents the ratio of workers to unemployed in the future society. ... "Tittytainment" is a term crafted by the Zbigniew Brzezinski and a portmanteau of two words: tits (as a reference to breast-feeding) and entertainment. This Tittytainment is a mixture of "intoxicating entertainment and sufficient nourishment" that can "tranquilize the frustrated minds of the globe's population." ... In noting the huge number who lost their jobs in the wake of 9-11, as mentioned by Petras, it is instructive to recall the statement of John Gage, one of the founders and top executives of Sun Microsystems, at the Fairmont conference back in 1995: "I have 16,000 workers, if we excluded a very few number, the vast majority are a reserve that can be laid-off when re-organizing."