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Ritzer’s McDonaldization of Society Essay


McDonaldization of society compared to In this essay I’m going to focus first on the critique of Orthodox Marxism and then I’ll proceed with the examples of McDonaldization of society.

Ritzer criticized Orthodox Marxism using a variety of approaches. For instance, Marxist idea of class conflict was opposed to Ritzer’s claim that modern society (or modern bureaucracy) is a self-regulating, constantly developing, efficient and profitable organization. Capitalism has been rooted so deeply in the society of McDonald’s era that class conflict becomes more of a utopia than reality.

The main features of the process of McDonaldization of society include Efficiency, Calculability, Predictability, Increased Control, and the Replacement of Human by Non-human Technology. So, in a capitalist organization every movement by a worker is calculated, and there are clearly established rules to follow. Thus, the possibility of class conflict is decreased by this web of restrictions imposed on an employee.

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Moreover, this capitalistic world, although till allowing for alienation, can be beneficial for many unskilled workers: they can have a good job receiving good money for their work. Capitalism is a system that allows for mass production and satisfies varying consumers’ needs.

Moreover, in bureaucracies there are developed methods of dispute-solving. Simultaneously, many companies turn to active encouragement of employees’ self-governance.

As for McDonaldization, Ritzer (1996, p.1) writes, “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 of the rest of the world.” Let’s not forget that the process is characterized by Efficiency, Calculability, Predictability, Increased Control, and the Replacement of Human by Non-human Technology. Every implication of the theory of McDonaldization has its own manifestation in different spheres that move increasingly away from the realm of fast food industry. Lately “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, 1994, p.137)

If we analyze McDonaldization through Efficiency, we’ll see that both in everyday and business life the global frive is to make everything even more effective: in order to decrease spending of resources (money, time and effort) and maximize benefits. The examples are all around us and range from credit cards to self-serve gasoline or catering of food. In terms of Calculability the modern society often values sophisticated figures over the actual content of them. If we talk about Predictability, globalization made it so that in the majority of developed countries you’ll eat in Pizza Hut and shop in a Nike’s store, so the majority of processes all around the world are getting more and more predictable. As for Control, every good you buy is carefully and automatically controlled, and not tested on animals. And the Replacement of Human by Non-human Technology means that jets are operated by computers with pilots supervising the process.

Ritzer, G. The McDonaldization of Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. 1996.
Ritzer, G. Sociological Beginnings: On the Origins of Key Ideas in Sociology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.

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