A Review Of The Socio Economical Anthropology Behind Mac Donald's Franchise

4119 words - 16 pages

"Eating at fast food outlets and other restaurants is simply a manifestation of the commodification of time coupled with the relatively low value many Americans have placed on the food they eat."- Andrew F. Smith, Encyclopedia of Junk food and Fast Food (2006)Today, while many people can easily recall the long lasting societal effects of daedal creations as the facsimile, the World Wide Web (and e-mail), or the effects of global warming, the passing of NAFTA and so on, but few have considered the influence of a fast-food franchise such as McDonald's. Commonly, when people think of McDonald's, they envision the fast-food giant of the industry - serving up their famous "Big Mac" burgers, fries, and milkshake. Few people can imagine the impact of McDonald's upon societies. It is one of those phenomenons that have engulfed our own society so much so that people begin to be numbed by the postulation and fail to see the greater issues and significances behind the gleeful grins of the iconic Ronald McDonald.Very often, we come across studies dealing with the contemporary spread of American pop culture (and pop business) influences with little positivism when addressing the growth of Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald's in previously unexposed markets. For example, in 1901, the British writer William Stead published a book called, ominously, "The Americanization of the World". The title captured a set of apprehensions - about the disappearance of national languages and traditions, and the obliteration of a country's unique "identity" under the weight of American habits and states of mind. And undoubtedly, that persists until today.Thus, it perhaps comes as surprising that James L. Watson's "Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia" comes out with a mostly optimistic look at the effect McDonald's had had throughout the East Asian region. In the book, five authors look at the impact McDonald's has had in five different East Asian entities: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. It delves into more than just eating; it grapples with the big issues like the impact of local vis-à-vis the global by looking into the interplay of McDonald's in those five Asian economies.At a time when academics frequently write impenetrably, Watson's publication is a breath of fresh air and deals with two straightforward questions: how do countries act in response to McDonald's, and conversely what does the relation say about those countries?Undoubtedly, McDonald's has had a huge effect in Asia (as it did with most parts of the world), impacting manners and values and also the way people interact. The most informative part of these studies is its exploration of how McDonald's changed each country. While Americans might see themselves as the bright light of global democracy and human rights its impact in countries in East Asia is proving to be more empirical.Much of the early chapters of the book are given over to looking at the material aspects of McDonald's in...

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