The McDonaldization Thesis presupposes some familiarity with sociologist George Ritzer's earlier work, The McDonaldization of Society (1993), in which he defines McDonaldization as "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 the rest of the world". These principles include efficiency, predictability, calculability (or an emphasis on quantification), and control (especially via non-human technologies). All of these combined constitute the formal rationality or basis that makes up McDonaldization. In his works, Ritzer continues to alarm many by depicting McDonaldization as "a largely one-way process in which a series of American innovations are being aggressively exported to much of the rest of the world".
The author introduces the concept of the "new means of consumption" to illustrate the ways in which not only business, but cultural practices are threatened by McDonaldization. Defined as "those things owned by capitalists and rendered by them as necessary to customers in order for them to consume", some of which these examples of consumption include fast-food restaurants, credit cards, mega-malls, and home shopping television networks. The critical point for the author is that each changes the ways individuals consume. For example, the exportation of fast-food restaurants and American eating habits, with their emphasis on food as something to be consumed as quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively as possible, alters the way people eat and, therefore, "poses a profound threat to the entire cultural complex of many societies". This change in society plays a huge role globally in that other cultures follow after these bad habits and unfortunately, leaves an everlasting, negative impact on other countries. Some of these cities want nothing to do with this as it may destroy their culture or negatively impact their religion and beliefs that have been in place for hundreds of years.
There is a distinct change to the concept of the new means of consumption, which is evident in the author's insistence that they "constrain individuals to buy more than they need" and "to spend more than they should". The easy availability of credit cards, for example, permits individuals to spend money they do not necessarily have. Drawing upon the distinction between "personal troubles" and "public issues," the author argues that the policies of the credit card industry pose problems for all of society, not just the single individual who is lost in debt, but also for the countries and economy as a whole.
Further evidence for the spread of McDonaldization is sought in the current state of sociology, the labor process, higher education, and tourism. Indeed, these areas are often as amusing as they are disturbing. Similarly, “McJobs“, with their heavily routinized and strict procedures, are widespread throughout the labor market. Typically, these jobs involve a series of...