A sociologist named George Ritzer developed a theory called “McDonaldization of Society”. George is a sociologist as well as a professor. Sociologists and physiologists differ in theories; for example physiologists believe peoples actions are based off genetics and sociologists believe peoples actions are based off of societal influences(I will cover this is another post). Regardless of the twos differences in beliefs, one thing is for certain, our society has indeed become McDonaldized.
McDonaldization, what does that mean?
Due to the nature of the name, you may think the theory is associated with the abundance of McDonalds across the world; this is partially true. The truth is the McDonalidization of Society theory encompasses much more than McDonalds. The theory suggests that society is fueled, ran, and maintained with the purpose of convenience, predictability, efficiency, calculability, and control. The term “McDonaldization” derives from the idea that all of our institutions, infrastructures, and so forth share similar characteristics as fast food restaurants. Think of the convenience of McDonalds; you pull up, place an order, pay and within minutes you have a meal on your stomach. Think about Walmart as well, in the 60s people would go downtown and visit multiple stores to obtain all of their goods. Present day you can walk into a Walmart and exit with food, cleaning supplies, a new bicycle and your medicine. It is as easy as getting a meal at McDonalds, I’m sure you understand where the name originated now.
Is this good or bad for society?
That judgement is for you to make. Clearly many of our modern day conveniences are well served and favored by us consumers. I can’t present much of an argument against acquiring food, supplies, or service in a quick and easy manner. It helps me operate quicker and easier. This is where we must really analyze and predict where our society is taking us. The bad comes into play when our society becomes too convenient and efficient for its own good. Ritzer speaks on this in his multiple studies. How can this be you may ask. How can a society become too efficient? Take Amazon fulfillment warehouses for example. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are offered to citizens filling orders in warehouses; these jobs help the economy. It is predicted that many of these jobs will be lost in coming years due to robots taking the place of physical labor. Amazon is just an example, car manufactures, furniture companies, personal hygiene companies, ANY company will likely be affected by such technological advancements. The amount of jobs that will likely be lost in the future is unpredictable. Society needs blue collar and white collar workers to function properly. If factory jobs become a thing of the past our society will have a major problem on its hands.
This is all just food for thought. Nothing drastic will likely happen in the near future; with that said our society is certainly moving in that direction. There is a fine line between efficiency and robotic. Take self-driving cars for example. That sounds like a great idea until the computer chip is hacked or bugs and everyone one the road crashes into each other causing innumerable casualties. Responsive speakers are a great idea until you no longer need to ask your husband how the weather is today. Or maybe someone hacks into your device and listens to all your conversations; or perhaps until your private conversations are recorded and sold to advertising and consumer information companies. What you view on your computer is all sold to advertising companies now, why do you think the product you viewed last night pops up on your side bar the next day? I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am just trying to illustrate George Ritzers theory in an applicable manner. The internet is fantastic, but many people have been subjected to bullying and identity loss due to it. My point is every innovative piece of technology also carries some negative consequence(small or large). Society hits a point when it becomes TOO efficient, when will that be?
Be sure to comment below. This is all food for thought and as I previously stated I am not one of the people who is a conspiracy theorist who believes the government is out to get us. I am simply providing examples of how becoming too efficient can actually backfire and have a negative effect on society and the economy as a whole. Be sure to like, comment, and click my colored Amazon.com affiliate links if you like the article and support my site. Controversial and intellectual articles will be posted every day! Thanks – Andrew A.