Aside from Eric Schlosser
's excellent research and horrifying exposes of the fast food
industry, the most interesting part of the book IMHO was his use of the fast food industry as a metaphor
for the mono-culture
which is quickly spreading across the earth. He points to trends in agriculture
, education, entertainment: everywhere the push for standardization
and corporate sponsorship
. Go to a subdivision and look at the rows and rows of assembly line houses
, or to schools at either end of the continent and find that they are teaching with the same textbooks
. Twenty, thirty years ago things didn't used to be this way. Or at least not to this degree.
He also raises some troubling questions about agribusiness which I wish were getting more attention. In the US large agribusiness producers are now able to make closed deals with large purchasers (very often this means the restaurant industry) where the terms of the contract are kept secret (this used to be illegal). That means small growers have no way of knowing what their crops are worth and prices are kept artificially low. In an age when every TV newscast (at least here in western Canada) brings new stories about the failure of the family farm and subsidies are constantly discussed as a method for keeping small farmers in business, this seems like a serious concern that isn't getting any press.
This book discusses so many good, diverse issues, and not in a fear-mongering, or even a particularly liberal kind of way. He isn't saying "Capitalism and the free market are bad." He's saying "These companies are breaking the law in ways that are hurting consumers." and "These companies are engaging in unfair trade practices." and he has ample documentation for all his claims.
Incidentally, I recently saw the author on "Counter-Spin" debating a "Food Industry Lobbyist" and the lobbyist accused
Eric Schlosser of fear mongering. Schlosser countered by asking the guy to name one fact in the book which he had evidence to contradict, and they guy couldn't do it. It was fun to watch him get really flustered trying to come up with something, though.