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Originally posted by [davinci]
A couple of years ago I watched a report on PBS that dealt with some of the same questions.
The reporter went to investigate some of the 'emerging markets' being exploited by the major fast food chains. It was pretty shocking that in some urbanized areas of Africa obesity was becoming a problem. Likewise heart disease was off the scale too (as well as other health issue previously unheard of in the areas).
The report showed that there was a connection between the marked increase in health problems and the increasing dependence on fast food as these areas rushed towards a more western lifestyle.
Raymond Albert "Ray" Kroc (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984) was an American businessman who took over the small-scale McDonald's Corporation franchise in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and amassed a $500 million fortune during his lifetime.
"We have found out... that we cannot trust some people who are nonconformists... We will make conformists out of them... The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization." - Ray Kroc
If any of my competitors were drowning, I'd stick a hose in their mouth and turn on the water. It is ridiculous to call this an industry. This is not. This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I'll kill 'em, and I'm going to kill 'em before they kill me. You're talking about the American way – of survival of the fittest.
McDonald's crimes were well documented in the infamous McLibel Trial between McDonald's and a postman & a gardener from London (Helen Steel and Dave Morris). It ran for two and a half years and became the longest ever English trial. The Judge delivered his verdict in June 1997. The judge ruled that McDonalds 'exploit children' with their advertising, produce 'misleading' advertising, are 'culpably responsible' for cruelty to animals, are 'antipathetic' to unionization and pay their workers low wages. But Helen and Dave failed to prove all the points and so the Judge ruled that they had libeled McDonald's and should pay 60,000 pounds damages. They refused and McDonald's knew better than to pursue it. In March 1999 the Court of Appeal made further rulings against McDonald's in relation to heart disease and employment.
Health & Nutrition: Nutritionists argue that the type of high fat, low fibre diet promoted by McDonald's is linked to serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes - the sort of diseases that are now responsible for nearly three-quarters of premature deaths in the western world.
Animals & the Environment: 10 Billion animals are raised in horrible conditions and killed every year in the US alone. McDonalds consumes over a million tons of packaging each year, used for just a few minutes before being discarded. Over the years thoudands of square miles of rainforest have been destroyed to raise cattle for McDonalds or the feed for the cattle.
Hunger & Poverty: McDonalds directly contributes to the creation of hunger and poverty by buying the low-cost products produced in third world countries by global agro-chemical companies and offering food which is high on the food chain and resource intensive. It requires 2,500 gallons of water, 1 gallon of oil and 12 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of hamburger meat. 70% of all US grain now goes to feed animals for human consumption.
Exploitation of Children & Social Engineering: Eating habits formed in childhood will stick with most people their entire life. McDonald's knows this and structures its organization to strongly appeal to children. A large percentage of McDonalds 2 Billion dollar advertising budget is used to target children. The play centers, toys and packaging are all designed to lure in children and hook them on an unhealthy diet. McDonalds aggressively campaigns to get it's advertising in schools and put restaurants in schools.
Exploitation of Labor: In 1972 Ray Kroc funneled $250,000 to Richard M. Nixon in exchange for a 20% reduction in the already low minimum wage for teenagers. Afterwards, a gracious Tricky Dick went a step further and publicly praised McDonalds.