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SOCI 2040
Charles Battershill

Alexandru Truta Professor Battershill TA: Farnoush Mozafari AP/SOCI 2040 12 November 2013 The Irrationality of Rationality Max Weber is a German sociologist, philosopher and political economist whose ideas influenced social theory, social research and the entire discipline of sociology. Weber is often cited, along Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founding architects of sociology. Weber's work was mostly dominated by research on rationality, and, more specifically, the process of rationalization. One specific term that is present in the reading and will be covered in this commentary is Weber's concept of McDonaldization. “McDonldization has swept across the social landscape because it offers increased efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control. ” This quote is the definition of McDonaldization and the center of Max Weber's view on what the goals of this concept were. Furthermore, this term refers to the process by which principles of the fast-food restaurants are coming to dominate more and more sectors ofAmerican society as well as the rest of the world. However, there were also negative aspects of McDonaldization. “That is, McDonaldization can be viewed as leading to inefficiency, unpredictability, incalculability, and loss of control.” Therefore, the reading had nine negative underlying principles to McDonldization that were most important and will be examined in this commentary. First irrationality is the “Inefficiency: Long Lines at the Checkout”. Rational systems that were supposed to be effective and fast frequently end up being quite inefficient.Agood example is in fast- food restaurants, where long lines of people often form or parades of cars idle in the drive-through lanes. Jam-packed lines or drive-troughs defeat the purpose of fast food and clearly displays this concept's inefficiency. Second, it is the “High Cost: Better off at Home”. The efficiency of McDonaldization does not ordinarily save consumers money. For example, a fast food meal for a family of four people would easily cost somewhere between twenty or twenty-five dollars. Such a sum would go farther spent on ingredients for a home-cooked meal which is cheaper and healthier. People would spend a higher cost on fast-food meals, when it is clear that they are better off at home. Third, it is “The Illusion of Fun: Ha,Ha, The Stock Market Just Crashed”. One might wonder, “If McDonald is not efficient or cheap, what does it has to offer that makes it a worldwide success?”. The answer to this question is simple, fun.An illusion of efficiency and frugality.As long as people believe in the illusion, the actual situation matters little. Thus, restaurants offer play-grounds or arcades, but also in more extreme cases, like The Mall of America, which offers an amusement park, a walk through aquarium, an 18 hole golf course, a fourteen screen movie theater, Hooters, and Planet Hollywood. There is little emphasis on the actual food, all the attention is focused on the entertainment in the fast- food industry that attracts costumers. Fourth, it is “The Illusion of Reality: Even the Singers aren't Real.” McDonaldized societies create deceptive settings and false realities. For example, McDonald's creates the illusion that people are having fun, that they are getting lots of french fries and that they are getting a bargain when they purchase their meal. One infamous example of such unreality was the pop group Milli Vanilli. The two “singers” did not actually sing on their record album. Therefore, the illusion of fun emits positive vibes which attract the costumer, provide business and ultimately profit for the fast-food restaurant. The fifth irrationality is “False Friendliness: Hi, George.” False friendliness is created when workers greed people by their name to create a false sense of friendliness, despite the fact that the workers do not really care about the costumers' name. That being said, these marketing
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