McDonaldization is defined as the spread of the basic principles of the fast-food restaurant throughout society and the world. The principles are (1) efficiency, (2) predictability, (3) calculability of quantity versus quality, (4) control, largely through the replacement of human technology by nonhuman technology (machines, automation). In many ways the fifth, albeit unintended, principle is the most important from both an empirical and an analytical perspective: (5) the irrationalities of rationality. The irrationalities include the antitheses of principles one through four (e.g., inefficiency), homogenization, dehumanization (of workers and customers), adverse health effects, adverse effects on the environment, disenchantment, and so on.

These principles did not come into existence with the birth of McDonald's (the pioneer and most important of the fast-food chains) but predated it by ...

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