Fast Food Nation Essay
"A nation's diet can be more revealing than its art or literature." (p.3) Eric Schlossers book Fast Food Nation is not only an expose of the fast food industry but also shows how the fast food industry has shaped and defined society in America and other nations as the fast food culture spreads globally. He connects the social order of society to the kind of food it eats and the way it eats that food, and relates fast food to other social processes and institutions. His facts are based on years of research and study, and are presented in and easy to follow narrative. Schlosser is so thorough and convincing in his argument, it's impossible to read this book and not feel disenchanted by the unethical practices of fast food companies, shocked at its effect on our society, and empowered to do something about it. Fast Food Nation takes a look at what we don't see behind the fast food business, and questions a high cultural cost verses a low dollar value meal. There are ethical concerns in about every business, but none seem to be as intense as the ones found in the meatpacking and fast food industry. "In the days when labor unions were strong workers could complain about excessive line speeds and injury rates without fear of getting fired. Today only one third of IBP's workers belong to a union." (p.174) Schlosser clearly describes the plight of these employees, pointing out that the majority of them are undocumented immigrants. They are employed "at will" meaning they can be fired at any time, for any reason. They depend on these jobs to support their families. A clear example of this can be seen here in Iowa. Small towns such as Perry are seeing a tremendous amount of undocumented immigrants, lured by the processing plants in the town. The needs of this industry shape a number of social institutions and also have a direct effect on local communities by bringing in people who require more social services than would otherwise...
Cited: Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. New York: Perennial, 2002.
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