McDonaldization Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Politics

Document 1

According to George Ritzer, the influence of the McDonalds food chain through a phenomenon known as McDonaldization of the society is the perfect epitome of rationalization in the modern society. Ritzer borrows from Weber who saw the society as the center of the contemporary rationalization with bureaucracy as its paradigm case and developed a theory stating that a society characterized by rationality is the one that stresses on predictability, efficiency, calculability, control over uncertainties and substitution of non-human for human technologies. Ritzer has used these five parameters to bring up his point on how the McDonaldization of the society through increased rationalization is affecting the modern society besides all its advantages. He argues that efficiency results in the displacement of goals like the case of Nazi camp officers who lost sight of the goals to be achieved while trying to maximize the efficiency of the camps.

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Predictability, on the other hand, is argued by Ritzer to be limiting surprises and hence resulting in the elimination of the mysteries and excitements of life itself. The other point in Ritzer’s argument that may also socially contribute to capitalism is that of the calculability which prefers quantity to quality. This argument is what has led to the development of computers as the urge to quantify has led to widespread use and sophistication of computers, and this has also led to capitalism in that the developers of computers are the world’s richest people owning most of the world’s resources. The above two aspects of Ritzer’s arguments show that consumers have increasingly emerged as an essential part of the modern life experiences and also that consumption has become a vital domain through which McDonaldization increasingly reveals itself (Miles 54-69).

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This relationship between consumption and the theory of McDonaldization therefore gives it a societal aspect which likely to be reversed in that by society reducing its urge to quantify and the world’s society also limiting the control companies have over their lives then it may reduce the unequal distribution of factors of production. Based on the above illustration it is therefore clear that the harmful effects of capitalism can easily be curbed from a social perspective as opposed to from an economic standpoint. Counterargument. There are many arguments against Ritzer’s discussions with regards to the McDonaldization of the society and its effects. One of the arguments that align with relating McDonaldization to capitalism is that Ritzer is more focused on cultural elitism than the political economy of capitalism (Parker 1-19).

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This is from the fact that Ritzer’s arguments opposing McDonald’s style of operations are just an argument against modernization and that he is nostalgic for the world we’ve lost due to the rise of new technologies. It’s true that the McDonalds styles of operation epitomize modernity, and anybody who opposes it in any way may be seen to be against modernity, but this is not the case with regards to Ritzer abandoning the political and economic aspects of capitalism in his arguments. Lastly it’s also important to note that both George Ritzer and most of his critics have not adequately distinguished between the McDonalds operations and the overall theory of McDonaldization. Ritzer’s theory can specifically be referred to as a bunless burger due to the fact that, no matter how intuitive his verifiable observations are, they never seem to click with the theory (Wynyard 160-173).

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