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Credit Cards, Fast-Food Restaurants and Increasing Rationalization
Credit cards, fast-food restaurants and increasing rationalization

Both the credit card and the fast-food restaurant were products of post-World War II changes in American society and both have greatly contributed to an accelerating rate of change in recent years. The concern in this chapter will be with the similarities and differences between these two seemingly mundane, but nonetheless enormously important, social and economic developments. After dealing with some initial comparisons, the main focus of the chapter will be on the degree to which the two are part of the general process of the McDonaldization of society. We will pay special attention to what C. Wright Mills (1959) called the “private troubles” and the “public issues” that accompany the rationalization ...

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