Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal explores the effects of the spread of multinational fast food corporations into other countries, and the resulting loss of national culture. In his chapter “Global Realization” Eric Schlosser claims that “The global expansion of American fast food is homogenizing cultural identities; like Las Vegas, it offers “a brief sense of hope… that most brilliant illusion of all, a loss that feels like winning” (Schlosser). Schlosser intentionally chooses the order and content of the information and examples he provides in order to promote his main claim. He uses both subtle and direct strategies to persuade his reader. In order to critically evaluate the validity of his argument, it is important to explore different perspectives of this issue by taking into consideration about what others have to say regarding this matter before coming to a conclusion. >
Eric Schlosser’s goal in the final chapter of Fast Food Nation is to illustrate the ‘evils’ of the expansion of American fast food culture, and how local cultures are being forced out by the multinationals popularity. It is necessary to identify the arguments he presents in order to define his main argument. The following arguments support his claim: “The global expansion of America’s fast food industry poses a threat to the distinct cultural identity of countries around the globe” (Micah).
Schlosser explains the introduction of multinational companies like Mc Donalds has had an profound effect on the culture of foreign countries. Transformations have taken place which could be perceived as beneficial or corrupting to that culture. The globalization of McDonald’s has raised many debates on both sides of the issue. The pro- globalization belief is that it enhances culture rather than adulterate. According to Schlosser there has been a loss of traditional values with the introduction of non traditional food into the culture of foreign countries. The types of foods are symbolic to particular regions, religions and morés. In India, to the Hindu people, the cow is considered to be sacred as part of its religion. With the introduction of non traditional foods into this society, as with many others, there are adverse effects on the traditions it tries to uphold.
Multinational companies like Mc Donalds operate in over 120 countries around the world, open about 5 restaurants every day, and four of those are not in America. Schlosser attempts here to show the scope of the ‘epidemic’, by doing so he helps to reinforce the negative association with the volume of the problem. Multinational companies like Mc Donalds now earn the majority of their profits from outside of the US. This expansion of American companies reinforces Schlossers claim that these companies are saturating foreign culture. Fast food chains are often the first multinationals to arrive when a country opens its markets. Countries first taste of the outside world is often a Big Mac, in parts of the world, fast food chains like McDonald’s represent Americana and the promise of modernization. >
Another part of evaluation is to gather more information in the forms of opinions and facts. With a broader range of opinions, one can weigh each new bit of information and form their own opinion regarding Schlosser’s main claim. The next four paragraphs are ‘distilled’ opinions of outside sources, each pushes towards or away from the main claim, and are used to make the final decision of the validity of Schlosser’s claim.
“Big Mac’s Local Flavor”, by Peter Gumbel, looks at a different side of the fast food culture debate. This article is, unlike Schlosser, supportive of the culture blending caused by the oligarchies of fast food. Gumbel delves into the business side of companies like Mc Donalds, in order to show their motivations for offering the food they do. The article provides examples, like the story of the Big Tasty, which show...
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