“McDonaldization”What are the principles that “McDonalidization” (George Ritzer’s term) imposes on our lives? Are there ways you can see the effects of McDonalidization in your life,...
What are the principles that “McDonalidization” (George Ritzer’s term) imposes on our lives? Are there ways you can see the effects of McDonalidization in your life, beyond just fast-food chains and grocery stores? Are there times or places in life when you feel that McDonalidization is more or less acceptable? In other words, are there examples where McDonalidization is especially good or bad?
The most recent example of McDonaldization is social media. A significant number of people 'simply jump onto the bandwagon', to quote from the number 8 posting above, and engage in Twitter and Facebook and such, believing the hype that they must use these communication portals in the 21st century to communicate properly and keep everyone 'updated' on whatever.
As post number 3 states the " huge trade-off is the substitution of quantity for quality". There's too much chatter and not enough substance in social media communication. It's the McDonaldization of human interaction - fast, less-than-nourishing from a deeper communication point-of-view, and often throwaway, fast-food type talk that doesn't leave a satisfying aftertaste.
Twitter and Facebook may have their place - but not as replacements for good old face-to-face, interesting, detailed, and time-well-spent conversations.
I agree that economics of scale makes McDonaldization a positive thing in many ways. It's nice to be able to go to a place like Wal-Mart and find a billion things for good prices. What I don't like is what it does to small business. Places like Wal-Mart drive small businesses out of business in droves. From a consumer's point of view, that doesn't really matter. But from a quality of life perspective, the loss of a business, or the loss of the possibility of starting a business is significant. Working for a corporate giant is not nearly as personally satisfying as working for yourself.
McDonaldization has been going on for such a long, long time that I supposed everybody had accepted it as a quaint part of the American scene, almost like Norman Rockwell's America. Maybe McDonald's started it, but now there are rows of these franchise operations everywhere. They have driven most mom-and-pops out of business. We have Seven-Elevenization, Burger Kingization, Kentucky Colonelization, etc. And don't forget Starbuckization. And these are spreading all over the world. I think Walmart is a different phenomenon, because these are not franchises operations.
McDonalization eliminates the personal and cultural touch of the private restaurant. One needs only to have traveled to Western Europe before its relinquishing of its cultural customs and have gone to the little individual shops in places like London, Edin-borough, Paris, Venice, and Rom that were managed by native owners who had lived in the area and who were part of the original culture of that country to know what is lost.
There are ways that McDonaldization is good. It helps us have a higher standard of living because businesses that are "McDonaldized" function more effectively. They provide us with many more goods at lower prices than we would otherwise have. This comes, of course, at the expense of our lives become more routinized as we come to be more of robots at work.
The other huge tradeoff is the substitution of quantity for quality. While this admittedly makes goods less expensive, it also leads to lower quality goods and a larger number of unskilled jobs (replacing skilled ones) in the economy. The extreme rationalization of everything takes all the decision-making, skill, and craftsmanship out of the process.
My concern with McDonaldization is that it depends on global inequality. Walmart delivers cheap goods to the West by cheaply producing goods elsewhere. The massive wealth gap between the industrialized West and the rest of the world is what makes McDonalization possible.
I think that McDonaldization exists everywhere. As the other posters have shown, one can see it in businesses and on residential streets alike. I think that people simply jump onto the bandwagon of what is working and hope that it continues to work--given past successes.