Is George Ritzer's theory of the McDonaldization of American society accurate?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Ritzer’s idea of McDonaldization is clearly accurate when applied to many parts of American society.  Ritzer argues that McDonaldization is simply the process of rationalization (that has been observed as long ago as when Max Weber was writing in the late 1800s and early 1900s) taken to greater extremes than Weber would have imagined.  It is clearly possible to identify a number of ways in which this has come to typify American society.

One major aspect of rationalization is that more and more processes should become more and more efficient.  This can be seen in our society in the growing number of processes that have become automated and which have been turned over to consumers instead of being done by paid workers.  We have long had self-service gas stations, but now we have internet stores where we shop and buy things ourselves and we have self-service checkout stations at grocery stores where we ring up our purchases without the help of people.

Clearly, more and more aspects of American society have become rationalized and have been made more efficient.  Not all areas are this way (education is still relatively un-McDonaldized), but Ritzer is correct to say that the number of McDonaldized sectors of our society is growing.


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