McDonaldization in the United States has been an ongoing and growing issue. The problem stems from a compilation of causes, tracing their ancestry back to the spread of the then-revolutionary McDonald's fast food chain. McDonaldization, while it may have improved our “standard of living”, it has contributed to the degradation of the means by which we achieve that. The theory of McDonaldization was developed by George Ritzer and outlined in his 1993 book The McDonaldization of Society. His theory suggests that corporate influence upon the population of the world has dramatically increased through the four methods of predictability, calculability, efficiency, and control. Ritzer personally defined the word 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."

No longer is the quality of workmanship a consideration. The Almighty Dollar now controls business decisions and the direction of progress. We do not consider if a decision will yield a higher quality product, nor do American business tactics encourage us to invest in the well-being of the workforce that produces our goods. Instead we seek for every possible way to cheapen those values, and the driving force behind our willingness to sacrifice it all is the American dollar.

McDonaldization owes its origins to the McDonald’s restaurant chain. The start of the business ethics and methods that have allowed this to occur over time can be attributed to Ray Kroc. McDonald’s, being a restaurant with new concepts back at its origin, sought to create a chain of identical restaurants.

Standardization was one of the main goals. Their aim was so a customer could go to a McDonald’s in San Francisco, California and get the same taste in a similar looking restaurant at a McDonald’s in Syracuse, New York. However, changes would have to be made in how things traditionally worked in order to achieve this McDonalds standard.

Tradionally, skilled workers are hired to use their abilities to make, prepare, and cook the food for customers. Skilled workers received their training from different sources, and usually have slightly different ways of preparing the same item. Due to the fact that these jobholders have gone through training and have these needed skills, they receive very good wages. In addition, skilled workers use their creativity and ingenuity to come up with “better” ways to do their job, to be more efficient, or to produce a better product. The strict standardization brought on by these "McDonaldization" business practices allows for no such progress by the people who not only work first hand with the process, but are knowledgable and educated about it.

However, thanks to the so-called “progress” we have achieved through McDonaldization, the process of making each item, such as a burger patty, has been broken down into a process of repeatable actions to achieve the same result. By giving instructions to unskilled workers off the streets, and providing each location with the same frozen meat products, a McDonald’s (or any other business for that matter) can train this person to produce an “ideal” burger patty, same in taste, appearance, and physical characteristics as the patty served up by a different unskilled worker, being paid only minimum wage, following the same procedure, at a McDonald’s across the continent.

McDonald’s has achieved their goal. They can produce a standard burger patty at any of their locations, and they cut their cost by utilising unskilled people. They met their ends, but do not care about the effects of the means they have used. They now have greatly lessened the demand for the skilled workers, because they are not wanted to work at such standardized workplaces. They have cheapened the value of human labor, because McDonald’s knows that they can easily find many people willing to work for very little per hour doing the same task over and over. There is a large pool of unskilled workers looking for work that they can tap. The fact that this nation has a minimum wage proves this point. The government had to set a limit at how low companies could pay their employees, because they knew that McDonaldized corporations could (and would want to) pay their employees petty change - a sad reality when one comes to think about it. McDonald's also knows that it will have to invest little into the workers it does hire, so that if they leave, McDonald’s is not at a loss of an investment. Since executives know there will always be a pool of unskilled people they can draw from easily, they have no incentive to treat their workers properly or respecfully.

This contributes to a high turnover rate of workers, and does not provide stable jobs for people. It does not truly provide “job experience” for employees of such companies either. The employees do not pick up useful skills they can use later on, in a future job offer. They have only learned the exact process that McDonald’s wants a burger patty cooked and little else. This further hurts the underpaid employees because they do not gain anything long-term out of their employment at these companies.

McDonaldization has had effects on many other aspects of the economy and American culture as well, besides employment; more specifically the production aspect. The McDonald’s fast food chain is now the largest buyer of potato and meat in the United States. Over time, production of meat has centralized to about a dozen meatpacking houses in the entire continental US. Because of the high expansion of chains such as McDonald’s, the demand for ground beef has increased. Thus, need for production speed has increased as well. The meatpacking industry has therefore had to convert to standardized practices and McDonalize their production lines.

Instead of a crew of skilled butchers each working on individual cattle, the meat industry has since fired such skilled workers, and hired unskilled workers to do a single, repeatative task of the process. The procedure of processing a cow was broken down into actions, and each person assigned one. The meatpacking industry hired unskilled workers to do each task, to speed up the process. Accuracy and quality of the job is now sacrificed for speed of production. The increased speed of production has caused more accidents in the process and more inaccuracies. The workers are highly mistreated and work in horribly unsafe conditions because the meatpacking companies know if people quit, they can easily find others to replace them - as their jobs require hardly any training or investment on the company’s behalf.

McDonaldization has caused so many more effects on our nation, disregarding the employment and economic factors. For example, the fast food industries expansion directly relates to a charted increase in obesity in the American population. While the concept of McDonaldization does not apply soley to the fast food industry, it is where it was pioneered and where it has obviously flourished as a business practice. It has made those high on the corporate ladder richer, and devalued the employees that got them there. While it has expanded all the way across the world, a McDonalds burger in London, England is no more exciting than a McDonalds burger from Loudonville, New York. They look the same and they taste the same. While they have managed to cut costs and increase the speed of production and the supply of their raw materials, they have demoted quality, workmanship, creativity, and integrity of the product in the process. The business tactic of McDonaldization puts the goals of the company first. The goal of standardization, increased return and minimized losses, does not account for the means. Any means by which these goals can be met, legally, is acceptable to the corporate heads.

While on the outside, it may appear as though progress has been made, we have simply achieved regression in so many areas instead. McDonaldization is not healthy for the American people in the long run, but that must be okay because corporations say that it’s better!

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