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A Summary of Fast Food Nation

Fast Food has become defining quality of American society over the past 30 years.  Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser, explains the fast food industry’s procurement of power, and the consequences that have been apparent in recent years. Not only has it transformed the food industry, but it has affected the economy and our appearance to the world. Ordering fast food has become a routine activity for the majority of Americans in today’s world.  The industry has a profound effect on all American people and is unavoidable, weather you are a regular customer or avoid fast food all together. 

The rural population of American has experienced some of the most devastating consequences of fast food industry advancement.  Major corporations have accumulated many of the ranches and farms in rural communities.  Successful farmers have become struggling employees to major fast food corporations in recent years.  This has caused destitute living conditions in communities that were once stable and prosperous. Schlosser reinforces this point by stating “The hardy, independent farmers whom Thomas Jefferson considered the bedrock of American democracy are a truly vanishing breed.”

McDonalds is the dominant leader in the restaurant industry.  Its cutthroat marketing tactics have caused the demise of many smaller businesses that were once prominent in the industry. Vast changes to the American landscape, both metaphorically and realistically, have take place since the corporation’s rise to power.  Economically, McDonalds creates an impressive amount of new jobs every year.  It has also emerged as the nation’s largest proprietor of commercial real estate.  This success is the essence of capitalism, but it has profoundly changed the face of American culture.

The success of McDonalds has led to the creation of many other chain based operations.  These franchises create a familiar image and take advantage of the average consumer’s desire of conformity.  Americans now spend much more time and money in franchises, rather than seeking the business of unique establishments. Businesses structured in this way have been notorious for their low wages and lack of benefits offered to their employees.  Fast food employees are the largest group of working class people earning minimum wage.  Schlosser finds this ironic for an industry that is so profitable and has virtually unlimited resources.

The fast food industry has also made notable progress in the efficiency of which its food is prepared.  Modern science has allowed food, particularly beef and poultry, to be processed, packaged, and transported in a frozen state.  This greatly expedites the cooking process and makes the food extremely easy to prepare. However, this process neglects to make any improvements to the healthiness to its food. It is widely accepted that fast food is a major reason for America’s struggle with obesity. 

Fast Food Nation points out the major repercussions that Americans have experienced as a result of fast food dominance.  Lower wages, the decline of rural communities, and severe health risks are some of the characteristics of the current fast food industry. It has created an unavoidable influence in every American’s life. Most Americans casually eat fast food with out recognizing how the food was processed and what consequences may follow by supporting these major fast food corporations.  


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