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Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: The Destruction Of American Values

866 words - 3 pages

In the book Fast Food Nation: The Darks Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser claims that fast food impacts more than our eating habits, it impacts “…our economy, our culture, and our values”(3) . At the heart of Schlosser’s argument is that the entrepreneurial spirit —defined by hard work, innovation, and taking extraordinary risks— has nothing to do with the rise of the fast food empire and all its subsidiaries. In reality, the success of a fast food restaurant is contingent upon obtaining taxpayer money, avoiding government restraints, and indoctrinating its target audience from as young as possible. The resulting affordable, good-tasting, nostalgic, and addictive foods make it difficult to be reasonable about food choices, specifically in a fast food industry chiefly built by greedy executives.
One of the largest reasons why people choose to eat fast food is because it is inexpensive. The United States government has increased the market for fast food by subsidizing many of the industry’s costs and by deregulating the industry, making it harder to inhibit collusion and monopolistic behavior. The construction of the interstate highway system and the agricultural subsidies are more than enough to give fast food corporations a competitive advantage over small businesses in the marketplace. However, giving tax breaks that enable high turnover rates for employees, and making Americans pay taxes for franchise fees, buildings, real estate, equipment, and supplies for fast food corporations turns a capitalist economy into a corporatist one (Schlosser 102). Ever since Nixon’s proposal for deregulating the marketplace, corporations have been committing unfair labor practices, not paying employees for working overtime as well as firing workers who have been injured. Other areas corporations seek to cut costs are in direct conflict with the safety of employees, consumers, and the public. Countless workers have been injured or killed because of excessive line speeds in factories, and much of the foods that come from them also carry diseases, yet many remain on grocery store shelves and fast food restaurants. Though fast food is affordable at first, the health costs paid by society make it much more expensive.
As value driven as the fast food consumer is, almost none would eat something that did not taste as delicious as a Big Mac. Fats, sugars, or salts, or the combinations of all three make up the majority of fast food, and that is not surprising. Corporate executives have done a good job of hiding the ingredients of what makes up a natural or artificial additive, as well as how cattle are raised, and how the food Americans eat have been genetically modified. This is not a...

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