Globalization is an undertaking to make
markets, politics and the likes to be same throughout the world. It is in
as sense a process of denationalization of markets, politics and legal
systems, i.e., the rise of the so-called global economy. They have
utilized the most effective way to influence people and that is through
attempting to alter their cultural orientation. Since culture is the way
of life and set of values of a person, everything that the person does
will be based on his/her cultural background. As such, cultural
re-orientation is necessary in order for the imperialist to introduce new
products to the target country therefore creating a new market. While it
is common to see cultural values such as ‘modernity’ as a product of the
early family environment (Klineberg, 1973), it is often far from clear how
such values may be transmitted, as broad notions of ‘socialisation’ are
The first person who had coined the
popular phrase “McDonaldization” is George Ritzer in his “McDonaldization
of Society” which describes the development of modernization i.e.
connected with the fast food industry. According to Ritzer (1996), the
fast food restaurant is the modern paradigm of the rationalization system
(Alfino, Caputo, Wynyard, 1998). McDonaldization is defined as the
process of adapting the standards of the fast food chain which functions
in a gradually broad range of the social settings including the higher
education, health care, work places and other organizations (Zayani,
1997). The point of McDonaldization is to remove unpredictable
circumstances from both the production and consumption of food. By
eliminating ‘surprises’ from the consumption of food, McDonaldization also
removes risk (Turner, 1994).
Every society is full of artefacts and
norms or rules that help maintain and bolster cultural values (Kitayama,
1992). These ideas become shared among members of a society.
McDonaldization is a new process although it has deeply rooted in the
historical process of rationalization. McDonaldization has a profound
effect on the way individuals experience their world. The term describes
the rationalization of society—the places and spaces where people live,
work and consume—using the fast-food restaurant as a paradigm. The process
is a direct consequence of the ascendance of four related processes: a
push for greater efficiency, predictability, calculability, and
replacement of human with non-human technology (Ritzer, 2000).
The first cornerstone of Mcdonaldization
appealed much to the society. The second cornerstone is calculability, in
the belief that the objective of the endeavor needs to be quantifiable,
i.e., sales in contrast to taste of the food being served which is
subjective and therefore non-quantifiable. The third cornerstone is
predictability. This suggests standardization and uniformity of services
while the fourth cornerstone, control, pertains to the standardization and
uniformity of employees. The last two cornerstones are manifestations of
the aim of McDonaldization, which is homogenization (Ritzer, 2000).
According to Bronson (2004), the society runs in an assembly line-like
manner. This is the kind of society where production, distribution and
consumption of products and services are being done in the fastest
possible time while keeping with acceptable outcomes.
Situations like these call to mind
socialist theories like Marxism, alienation, and hegemony.
According to Williams (1977) Karl Marx was a famous philosopher, social
scientist, historian, revolutionary and probably the most influential
socialist thinker that emerged during the 19th century. When
Marx settled in London, he came up with the ideology that
"a new revolution is possible only in
consequence of a new crisis", so he devoted his time in studying political
economy in order to find out the causes and conditions of this crisis.
Marxism, as proposed by Karl Marx basically comprises the following ideas:
(1) the economic classes and its
relationship with each other in terms of production is the most important
feature in a society,
(2) a class is identified through the
relations of its members by means of production,
(3) the capitalists benefit more because
they own the means of production while the proletariat or the laborers
owns only their capacity to work in the production of materials,
(4) the main feature of
ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and
increasing exploitation of the working class leads to economic crises,
because the working class cannot afford to buy the products of its labor.
contribute to the idea of alienation in which classes are formed and
members of lower social class particularly people in the labor force, are
alienated from the goods their produce due to inadequate income – income
that can not afford the goods that are mass-produced (Marx, 1867). In this
light, the theory of McDonaldization is a concrete example of social
situation being criticized by Marx.
In looking at today’s society, one can
see that most lines between social classes are blurred with by the
relative tolerance of its members. Everybody seems to be doing the same
thing, wearing the same clothes, watching the same movies or programs and
listening to the same songs. A first hand inspection would tell you that
the lines are indeed blurred or that the barriers have been broken but a
closer investigation would lead one to analyze the controlling forces that
dictate the activities of the people in a certain society.
Gramsci (1971) the main task
of the Marxist-Revolutionary movement is the “conquest of the masses”. The
theory of Permanent Revolution believes that the struggle against
imperialism would not be successful until the workers will have their
consummation of worker’s democracy. Moreover, it is interesting to note
that it is always a dynamic process wherein while one can be lulled with
the complacency of popular values and ideas, another one will be dead-set
on countering it. Counter-cultures and alternative lifestyles spring up
until they become the dominant cultures of the society. Until that
happens, the dynamic struggle continues (Strinati, 1995).
the mass media and the messages that it
presents and feeds to the audience have long been criticized for
consumerism and its passive treatment to the audience. According to
Elinder (1961) media and other related technologies have homogenized
consumer tastes and that whatever differences that the individual person
exhibits is broadly generalized that they are almost indistinguishable
with each other. He supported this point of view when he introduced the
concept of international advertising (Elinder, 1961) which constitute the
means for the proliferation of McDonaldization concept and practices at
the individual level.
to Kotler and Armstrong (2001), consumers around the world are different
in various factors such as age, income, education level and preferences
which may affect the way they avail of goods and services. This behavior
then impacts how products and services are presented to the different
consumer markets (Kotler & Armstrong, 2001). In line with this, the theory
of Hierarchy of Needs as pioneered by Abraham Maslow constitutes levels of
self-actualization achievements in order to fully function and exhaust the
personal and social abilities of an individual. He claimed that in order
for a person to achieve one’s personal self-actualizing ability in which
one is able to obtain the overall well-being that he or she wants several
needs should be first met. These needs include the physiological, safety,
love and belongingness, and esteem needs (Vroom & Deci, 1989).
theory of Hierarchy of Needs defines physiological needs which
include the basic and biological standards of existence like food,
shelter, and clothing. Safety needs is the individual’s capability
to feel secure and in good condition in him or herself. Love and
belongingness needs are the conditions in which an individual feels
the affection and comfort that are willingly given by the people around
him or her especially those who are likewise important and dear to
oneself. Finally, esteem needs is the condition wherein a person is
able to feel confident and sure of him or herself by being able to feel
free and responsible to every action one makes (Vroom & Deci, 1989).
Hence, in the advent of globalization and
in the critical analysis of McDonaldization, following the Maslow’s theory
in the perspective of the labor force of the capitalist corporations that
exist at present clearly indicates the inequalities as well as
inadequacies that characterize modern societies around the world.
Evidently, the individual social ladders enumerated by Maslow emphasize
the need to look into the reality of today’s technological advancement and
the ideologies of globalization.