In this essay, an attempt is made to critically review the book, “Fast Food Nation” which deals with the process of emergence of fast food culture in America leading to significant social changes. Analysis The meticulously researched book “Fast Food Nation” is written by the journalist Eric Schlosser. The author devotes much attention to unhealthy fast food, labor violations, and many cases of food poisoning. The author gives information regarding the process of emergence of fast food culture in America; the health issues related to fast food culture, and the government regulations regarding the fast food.
In this book, the author demonstrates the ugly side of American food culture. According to the author of this book Americans spend more on fast food than on books, movies, etc. In 2001, Americans have spent $110 billion on fast food. There are 43000 meatpacking workers. Fast food industry spends $3 billion to attract the young people to the fast food centers. The author states that every American consumes three hamburgers and four orders of French fries every week. He says that the social price of fast food has neglected the traditional American values.
The attempt of the author is to argue against the consumption of fast food by the Americans. He obtained information through fieldwork and by interviewing different categories of workers involved in fast food production. The author argues that the main reason for opening so many fast food centers was to attract large number of people to the fast food culture. This is a part of the capitalist agenda since the fast food centers have increased the capital of the owners of these centers. Due to this, few corporations have dominated the fast food business in America.
The author does not hide his distrust regarding the fundamental principles of the capitalist system. He has given information regarding the economic strategies of the capitalists in popularizing the consumption of fast food among the American youth and other sections of American society. The book also gives information regarding the problems faced by the teen-aged workers who were paid low wages. The author mentions that one out of every eight worker in America is employed in McDonald. McDonald’s hire nearly million people a year. However, they work under dangerous working conditions.
It is mentioned that three companies master 80 percent of US demand for frozen fries. The author visited the slaughterhouses and comprehended the potential health hazards both to the workers and the consumers. He mentions that each year one in three workers go to doctor due to problem with their stomach. The author gives the information that two thirds of fast food workers are under 20 and most of them work 12 hours shift. To demonstrate his argument the author has used the examples, logos from the companies such as MacDonald’s. The fast food culture has few negative impacts on the health and society of America.
For instance, this has increased the problem of obesity. These restaurants use items such as potatoes and cattle to produce the popular food. The use of items such as oil and method of production of meat has increased the problem of obesity in America. Obesity in the recent years has emerged as the one of the most severe social and health problems among the American youth. Thus, fast food culture can be considered as one factor leading to this problem of obesity in America. However, the author has neglected the role of consumer while discussing the growth of fast food culture.
The author points out the need for government regulations to curb the freedom of multi national companies in imposing their capitalist agenda on the people. The fast food mostly produced and consumed by the younger generation are not healthy. Regarding the health hazard, the author refers to E. coli and salmonella infection. The author blames the politicians for taking money from agri business capitalists, which has increased the number of fast food restaurants throughout America. The author has urged the readers that they should run away from the fast food in order to maintain their health.
The fact that fast food culture is becoming popular indicates the emergence of significant changes in the American society. The fast food centers have on the one hand created health problems, and, on the other, they have led to changes in the social values among the American youth. The author says that everyday one-quarter of adult population in America visit fast food centers. Although people are aware of the bad effects of the fast food, still fast foods have not lost their popularity. Thus, the author does not give clear explanation regarding the reasons for the popularity of these fast food centers.
However, the author, by the use of statistics, symbols, and examples has succeeded in arguing against the monopoly of few companies in fast food business. He has demonstrated the negative impact of fast food on health and society of America. Those who read this book would not send their children to the fast food centers. Conclusion The book “Fast Food Nation” has convincingly proved that fast food culture has led to problem of obesity and affected the workers and health of consumers of fast food. This also demonstrates that the nature of changes that would emerge in the future American society.