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Unformatted text preview: possible.They offer a limited, simple menu that can be cooked and served in an assembly-line fashion.The
latest development in fast-food restaurants, the addition of drive-through windows, constitutes an effort to increase still further the efficiency of the dining ex- ARTICLE 43 THE MCDONALDIZATION OF SOCIETY perience.The family now can simply drive through, pick up its order, and eat it
while driving to the next, undoubtedly efficiently organized, activity.The success
of the fast-food restaurant has come full circle with frozen food manufacturers
now touting products for the home modeled after those served in fast-food
Increasingly, efficiently organized food production and distribution systems
lie at the base of the ability of people to eat their food efficiently at home, in the
fast-food restaurant, or in their cars. Farms, groves, ranches, slaughterhouses,
warehouses, transportation systems, and retailers are all oriented toward increasing efficiency. A notable example is chicken production where they are massbred, force-fed (often with many chemicals), slaughtered on an assembly line,
iced or fast frozen, and shipped to all parts of the country. Some may argue that
such chickens do not taste as good as the fresh-killed, local variety, but their
complaints are likely to be drowned in a flood of mass-produced chickens.Then
there is bacon which is more efficiently shipped, stored, and sold when it is preserved by sodium nitrate, a chemical which is unfortunately thought by many to
be carcinogenic. Whatever one may say about the quality or the danger of
the products, the fact remains that they are all shaped by the drive for
efficiency. . . .
One of the most interesting and important aspects of efficiency is that it often
comes to be not a means but an end in itself.This “displacement of goals” is a
major problem in a rationalizing society.We have, for example, the bureaucrats
who slavishly follow the rules even though their inflexibility negatively affects
the organization’s ability to achieve its goals.Then there are the bureaucrats who
are so concerned with efficiency that they lose sight of the ultimate goals the
means are designed to achieve.A good example was the Nazi concentration camp
officers who, in devoting so much attention to maximizing the efficiency of the
camps’ operation, lost sight of the fact that the ultimate purpose of the camps was
the murder of millions of people. P R E D I C TA B I L I T Y A second component of rationalization involves the effort to ensure predictability
from one place to another. In a rational society, people want to know what to expect when they enter a given setting or acquire some s...
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2014 for the course HST 414 taught by Professor Spokes during the Fall '13 term at Syracuse.
- Fall '13