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Social Issues

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Is Mcdonaldization Inevitable? George Ritzer's, Mcdonaldization of Society, is a critical analysis of the impact on social structural change on human interaction and identity. According to Ritzer, Mcdonaldization "is the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as rest of the world" (Ritzer, 1). Ritzer focuses on four foundations of Mcdonaldization: efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. These are the commandments of any rationalized corporation. However, they are not carried out from the point of view of the consumer. Efficiency, for example, may entail the placing of great inconveniences upon a consumer for the sake of efficient management. Calculability may involve hiding certain information from the consumer. Predictability and control may involve a company's ability to predict and control consumer behavior, not the consumer's ability to predict what kind of product or control what kind of service he gets. Ritzer calls such breakdowns "the irrationality of rationalization." Ritzer points out the irrationality of rationality, as all of the supposed benefits of Mcdonaldized systems backfire: waiting in long lines, suspect quality, little or no customer service, little or no customer service, the illusion of large quantities for low prices, and severely limited selection of choice. Throughout Mcdonaldization of Society, Ritzer describes Mcdonaldization as largely negative and often destructive. While Mcdonaldization is rapidly taking over American society and spreading to the rest of the globe, it is not something unjustly imposed on the American people. The consumerist culture of America has groomed the public to seek efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. These principles grow in importance and value in contemporary America. Even when given the choice to avoid a Mcdonaldized establishment or product, people will flock to it. I agree with Ritzer's analysis of a Mcdonaldized society, but I feel that Ritzer has failed to provide any real solutions to the Mcdonaldization process. I will support Ritzer's analysis of the Mcdonaldization process, but also show that it is inevitable and essential in the American society to have a rationalized system. Ritzer stresses that "Mcdonaldization" does not just refer to robotlike assembly of food. Rather, this process, occurring throughout society, is transforming our lives. "In the 1980s and 1990s Mcdonaldization has extended its reach into more and more regions of society, and those areas are increasingly remote from the heart of the fast-food business" (Ritzer, 137). Shopping malls are controlled environments of approved design, logo, colors, and opening and closing hours. "For those people who wish to see Europe, a package tour rationalizes the package. People can efficiently see, in a rigidly controlled manner, many sights while traveling in conveyances, staying in hotels, and eating in fast-food restaurants just like those at home" (Ritzer, 21). "USA Today" produces the same bland, instant news- in short, unanalytic pieces that can be read between gulps of the Mcshake or the Mcburger. Is this all bad? Not necessarily. Efficiency does bring reduced prices. But at a cost, a loss of something difficult to define or quantify, a quality of life washed away by rationalization. When I travel, for example, had I taken a packaged tour, I never would have had the opportunity to have all the unique experiences that I've had. However, the costs may be even simpler than that. For example, just recently I was ordering food through the drive-thru during lunch hour. The employee at the window was already stressed from trying to work too fast, gave me large cokes in a flimsy cardboard container. The coke went from the window onto to my car seat. Later it was established that the lids weren't even properly placed on the glasses. This is also and example of the irrationality of rational systems. The lines at the fast-food restaurants can be very long, and waiting to get through the drive-thru can even take longer than going inside. In addition, Ritzer explains that in Mcdonaldization establishes control through the substitution of nonhuman for human technology. He explains that "...these two elements are closely linked. Specifically, replacement of human by nonhuman technology is often oriented towards greater control. The great source of uncertainty and unpredictability in a rationalizing system



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