- McDonald's -

Capitalism as a whole

Posted by: Tom Chapman ( Australia ) on February 14, 19100 at 12:09:31:

McDonalds is only a small part of a big issue.

The most damaging aspect of corporations like McDonalds, and also Coca-Cola, Nike and such like, is that they have a tendency to destroy all other culltures they come across. While most apologists for American uni-culturalism claim societies and individuals adopt them consumer culture by choice, the fact is that it is forced on them in the same way European values were forced onto the indigenous populations of North America, South America and Australia. The result? Cultural genocide. We run the risk of the same thing occuring now.
American culture operates in the same way as the ancient Roman concept of bread and circuses; the idea being to give the people food (McDonalds) and entertainment (tv) and no one will complain about social inequality or the misuse of resources. This, supposedly, makes the population happy, but in reality it just makes life easier, encourages apathy, and makes revolution an unnecessary bore.

This system is too wasteful for the entire population to live like this; there must be hundreds of millions of people living in desperate poverty to sustain the privileged lifestyles of those in developed countries. Within developed countries, the cumulative effect of clever marketing (particularly on television) and peer pressure makes it necessary for the individual to buy brand label merchandise, drink the right soft drink, eat the right food, in order to be socially accepted. This is not choice. This is coercion.
We have been duped by corporations in the same way the Russians were duped by Stalin, the Germans by Hitler. As long as we recognise this, we can choose whether to leave the world as it is, or set about changing it.
For most people, myself included, the former will be too difficult, the latter too easy.

McSpotlight: Absolutely. The dominant form of market capitalism is the one that limits the number of options the consumer has. When 'eating out' has effectively become a choice between 4 or 5 multinational corporations, you will be funding one of them by eating out; their revenue is maximised by reducing your choice.

(A lot of people miss the underlying point of the McLibel Trial; it consists of a large and unaccountable multinational corporation trying to use loopholes in UK law to erode the civil liberties and freedom of speech of a UK citizen.)

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