A Review of the Socio-Economical Anthropology behind MacDonald's Franchise

Essay by jeyy06 January 2008

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"Eating at fast food outlets and other restaurants is simply a manifestation of the commodification of time coupled with the relatively low value many Americans have placed on the food they eat."- Andrew F. Smith, Encyclopedia of Junk food and Fast Food (2006)Today, while many people can easily recall the long lasting societal effects of daedal creations as the facsimile, the World Wide Web (and e-mail), or the effects of global warming, the passing of NAFTA and so on, but few have considered the influence of a fast-food franchise such as McDonald's. Commonly, when people think of McDonald's, they envision the fast-food giant of the industry - serving up their famous "Big Mac" burgers, fries, and milkshake. Few people can imagine the impact of McDonald's upon societies. It is one of those phenomenons that have engulfed our own society so much so that people begin to be numbed by the postulation and fail to see the greater issues and significances behind the gleeful grins of the iconic Ronald McDonald.

Very often, we come across studies dealing with the contemporary spread of American pop culture (and pop business) influences with little positivism when addressing the growth of Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald's in previously unexposed markets. For example, in 1901, the British writer William Stead published a book called, ominously, "The Americanization of the World". The title captured a set of apprehensions - about the disappearance of national languages and traditions, and the obliteration of a country's unique "identity" under the weight of American habits and states of mind. And undoubtedly, that persists until today.

Thus, it perhaps comes as surprising that James L. Watson's "Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia" comes out with a mostly optimistic look at the effect McDonald's had had throughout the East Asia...