McDonaliztion and Its Four Core Concepts of Efficiency, Calculability, Predictability, and Control
Rational systems can be defined as “unreasonable, dehumanizing systems that deny the humanity, the human reason, of the people who work within them or are served by them”. Today there are many types of businesses that are increasingly adapting the same values and principles of the fast-food industry to their needs. Rational systems are dehumanizing our society and seem to be even more irrational than convenient.
Ritzer's theory of McDonaldization is an update on classical sociologist Max Weber's theory of how scientific rationality produced bureaucracy, which became the central organizing force of modern societies through much of the twentieth century. According to Weber, the modern bureaucracy was defined by hierarchical roles, compartmentalized knowledge and roles, a perceived merit-based system of employment and advancement, and the legal-rationality authority of the rule of law. These characteristics could be observed (and still can be) throughout many aspects of societies around the world. According to Ritzer, changes within science, economy, and culture have shifted societies away from Weber's bureaucracy to a new social structure and order that he calls McDonaldization. As he explains in his book of the same name, this new economic and social order is defined by four key aspects.
The packaging used in fast food industry pollutes the environment. And the family: part of its solidarity and integrity was centered around the family meal: The communal meal is our primary ritual for encouraging the family to gather together every day. If it is lost to us, we shall have to invent new ways to be a family. It is worth considering whether the shared joy that food can provide is worth giving up. (Visser, 1989:42; in Ritzer, 1994:156) Microwavable foods and fast-food restaurants allow us to eat what we want, when we want it. The ritual of cooking, eating together, and sharing is fading from the American family. Two final problems are worth noting. How long will it be before these rational systems evolve beyond the control of people. How much of our lives are already subject to their influence and control. What happens when the people who control the systems succumb to being controlled?
McDonaldization is continually making its way into more aspects of healthcare. We as citizens must voice our opinions to fight for the healthcare we deserve.
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The McDonaldization of Society, Pine Forge Press, 1993.
"A Meditation on the Microwave," Psychology Today, December 1989, pp. 38ff.