Inthe book, Resisting McDonaldization, Joseph Ritzer uses the term torefer to the sociological phenomenon in the contemporary society.However, the roots of the situation can be traced back to 1903 whenHenry Ford established the first assembly line with the aim ofimproving the development of automobiles in the United States. Thisvision later became the most preferred approach to production. Inthis context, McDonaldization can be perceived as a rationalizationprocess because it challenges the traditional practices and replacesthem with procedures which lean towards achieving efficient outcomes.From a sociological perspective, it can also be understood as the actof substituting traditional rules which are mostly considered to beinconsistent with modern ideas alleged to be reasonable.Additionally, McDonaldization can also be argued as a theory ofcreation which asserts that any chore can be broken down using arationalization approach.
Inthis case, tasks are fragmented to the smallest possible units tofind the most effectual solution methods. As a result, systems aredeveloped which can be used to complete the tasks in a particular wayevery time. One of the positive aspects of this approach is that itfacilitates organized, dependable, and quantifiable outcomes.However, the sociological perspective on the matter cautions againstthe danger of over-rationalizing processes which is bound to happenas people increasingly become self-centered as highlighted by thecase of McDonald Food Company. It causes irrationality in ways thatcompromise the survivability of human beings. Therefore, this paperseeks to discuss the efforts which seem realistic in ResistingMcDonaldization.
TheScope of the Problem
Thediscussion regarding the irrational impact of McDonaldization cannotbe overemphasized considering the overwhelming pieces of evidence inthe modern community. One of the ways of assessing the adverseeffects of irrationality, which is caused by over-rationality, isthrough exploring how McDonalds Food Company has influenced health.Although the Corporation has enhanced efficiency by making foodstuffaccessible to individuals who may not have time to cook, it has comeat a significant health-related cost for the American society. It haschanged the way of life, thus compromising the values which oncecharacterized people’s food choices. For instance, a studyconducted by Currie (32) perceives the high prevalence rate ofobesity, weight gain, and diet-related diseases to be facilitated byMcDonald’s Company among others. In a different research, Stender,Dyerberg, and Arne (888) sought to determine the causal links betweenfast foods and diseases by exploring the outcomes of variousrandomized investigations on the issue.
Theresults indicated an indisputable connection between fast-food andrapid weight gain as well as an extended period of insulinresistance. Specifically, people who get their meals from suchrestaurants are likely to gain approximately 4.5 kg and 104% of moremass and insulin opposition respectively (Stender et al. 888). Suchdiets facilitate such health predicaments because they are served inlarge portions and contain high energy density which is often storedas fats when not utilized by the body. The outcome also foundMcDonald chain of restaurants to be at fault of perpetuating theproblem because it is the largest fast-food company in America andother countries. As a result, approximately 34% and 17% of adults andchildren aged between 2 and 19 years respectively in the UnitedStates are obese (CDC n/p). Obesity-related diseases include stroke,cancer, and type-2 diabetes. It is also the leading cause ofpreventable death in the country. In 2008, the projected annualmedical expense related to obesity was $147 billion.
Thecritical assessment of McDonald Food Company, one of the corporationswhich have diligently adhered to the concept of McDonaldization,reveals that efficiency is the primary objective of rationalizationprocesses. Modern enterprises are exploiting the fact that life isincreasingly becoming fast by adopting strategies which seeminglymake life convenient for consumers. Fast-food restaurants havereplaced traditional home cooking. Online classes have swappedposition with the typical school classroom. Lastly, but not least,social media sites have substituted the famous face to facecommunication as seen in the case of online guidance and counselingsessions. The satisfaction that customers receive includes free timefor doing other things. For instance, professors do not need to gohome and cook at night while they can spend that time conductingresearch.
However,there is a sacrifice to be made by consumers to enjoy the efficiencyprovided by organizations. Specifically, they must abide by thestandards which companies set in their pursuit of efficiencyregardless of their opinions. For instance, fast-food restaurantsmake their products readily available, but cause greater healthconcerns as analyzed in the preceding chapter. Information technologyapplications such as Facebook make communication easy but compromisethe process of the community association and cooperation. Onlineclasses make it convenient for people to study from home, but denythem the opportunity to share experiences with other students. A lotof businesses such as Nike resorted to outsourcing labor to minimizetheir cost of production, thus limiting job opportunities in thecountries where they are based (Dumbili 1). The assembly line adoptedby several companies also compromises the development of operationalskills among employees because tasks are broken down and handleddifferently.
Mostcompanies make consumers dependable on their products and services bylimiting their choices. For instance, the fact that most people eat alot of unhealthy food cannot be blamed exclusively on the process ofrationalization, but also on the fact that most of them do not have arange of options. The limitation in the existence of alternatives isfacilitated by cartels, inadequate or lack of information, andineffective governmental policies. Food inclusive (n/p), a videodocumentary on the trends in the food industry, sets the recordstraight by demystifying the myths which have so far been associatedwith unavailability of healthy food. Firstly, the large players inthe food industry have formed cartels whose function is to limit theproduction of safe meals. Arguably, fast foods are cheaper andsimpler to prepare than home cooked meals.
Thesecompanies do not want to be pushed to a point where they have tosubstitute the production of fast foods with healthy meals. As aresult, they intentionally omit or include false calorie informationin their products as it has been the case of most organizationsproducing beverages. The aim is to encourage consumers to continuebuying their products. Additionally, they limit the supply ofmaterials needed to prepare recommended foodstuff with the goal ofcreating greater demand and escalating the prices of the relatedproducts. In such a case, people who exist in the middle and lowereconomic tiers would have no option but to buy cheap and readilyavailable fast food because they do not have adequate resources toget healthy food. These are some of the sacrifices that thecommunity has to make to enjoy efficiency perpetuated by most firms.
Inpage 156, Ritzer provides some possible things to do to resistMcDonaldization. They include living in apartments, using localhairstylists, reducing the number of visitation to fast-foodrestaurants, and visiting eating places serving food that resemblehome cooked meals. The author’s idea was to inform the public thatthey have control over the decisions they make. He further impliesthat people should make conscious choices of avoiding or abandoninghabits that seem to reinforce the existence of McDonaldization. Thisapproach can be supported by enhancing people’s awareness to givethem more leverage for making rational decisions. Scholars such asKellner (3) claimed that Ritzer’s book largely seeks to illuminatethe issue of McDonaldization and provide a wealth of information tohelp people make informed consents.
Itdescribes the theoretical context of the concept, how it is applied,and its impacts in the community. According to Bayesian Paradigm,people’s perception of the universe tends to expand with increasedawareness (Karni & Viero 2790). Individuals develop the feelingthat they can do a lot of things with the new information theyacquire. The assumption of this strategy is that people will abandonparticular lifestyles if they know in advance that they can posesevere adverse effects on their lives. For instance, teachingfamilies about diets and their implications on human health wouldfacilitate better decision making when it comes to food choices. Theywill only get the right kinds of products because they feardeveloping diseases and using a lot of resources later in treatment.Correspondingly, parents will work hard with the aim of amassingresources necessary for getting the right kinds of food for theirfamilies.
Similarly,people will also know that web-supported procedures such as onlineclasses and online guidance and counseling are not as effective asthe traditional processes because they limit the scope ofinteractions. For instance, clients are likely to benefit less whenthey engage in online counseling compared to face to face sessionsbecause their therapists are not able to pick on their non-verbalactivities and react to them effectively. Therefore, it is highlylikely that people would start to think of traditional processes isthe most efficient alternatives when they understand that theefficiency that is brought by web-related processes come at pricessuch as limited insight into issues and little value for the moneythey pay.
Anotherviable approach to resisting McDonaldization is using activists topush the government to develop policies which would compel companiesto meet the cultural, psychological, and socioeconomic interests ofthe public. For instance, companies such as Nike would be forced tocreate a specific number of job opportunities depending on theirsizes rather than outsourcing labor in other countries. This approachwill prevent companies from exploiting the community while givingnothing back to facilitate its development. Societal disorganization,as characterized by the high rate of crime, is predominantly causedby inadequate employment opportunities. Therefore, it does not makeeconomic sense to the country when companies make a lot of profitswhile a large section of the population continues to languish inpoverty.
The paper has analyzed the concept of McDonaldization and presentedthe scope of the challenges it imposes on the contemporary community.The discussion entails an extensive use of McDonald Food Company asan example to develop an understanding of the aspects thatcharacterizes the concept. The same case has been used to clarifythat enhancing awareness of people is the one of the most realisticapproaches that can reinforce the strategies discussed by Ritzer inthe book "Resisting McDonaldization." The paper has alsoemphasized on the relevance of seeking the government`s support tofacilitate the existence of equality and impose policies which wouldcompel companies to fulfill their corporate social responsibilitiesin ways that meet the socioeconomic needs of consumers.
CDC."Adult Obesity Facts." Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015. Web. 09 Aug. 2016.
Currie,Janet. "The effect of fast food restaurants on obesity andweight gain." AmericanEconomic Journal: Economic Policy2.3 (2010): 32-63.
Dumbili,Emeka W. "McDonaldization and Job Insecurity." SAGEOpen3.2 (2013): 2158244013491950.
FoodInc.Netflix, 2008. Web. 11 July 2016. Retrieved fromhttp://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Food-Inc/70108783
Karni,Edi, and Marie-Louise Vierø. "“Reverse Bayesianism”: Achoice-based theory of growing awareness." TheAmerican Economic Review103.7 (2013): 2790-2810.
Kellner,Douglas. "12 Theorizing/Resisting McDonaldization."ResistingMcDonaldization(2009): 186.
Ritzer,George. "The McDonaldization of society." G.Ritzer(2015).
Stender,Steen, J. Dyerberg, and Arne Astrup. "Fast food: unfriendly andunhealthy." Internationaljournal of obesity31.6 (2007): 887-890.