on May 6, 2004
This is a thoughtful, rich, critical, engaging analysis. I was pleasantly surprised. I had major problems with his famous McDonalization of Society -- I thought it was pretty thin, extremely redundant, and gave short-shrift to the profit motive. Furthermore, Ritzer kept re-packing the same ideas in various publications. I was jealous of all the money he was making, but not impressed in terms of scholarly innovation. When I saw this book, I thought: oh, no, here we go again: slick title, slick cover....another money maker for Ritzer and shallow analysis for us. WRONG. Even picking this book up with enormous skepticism, I was totally engaged. This is great stuff. He not only explains his observations carefully, but his analysis of WHY the trend under scrunity is happening is solid. And he gives credit where credit is due -- to Marx, in this case. Good for Ritzer.
Ritzer's argument is that products, places, and services that are locally constructed, locally controlled, and full of distinct and special qualities are vanishing. What are proliferating and ever-increasing are products, places, and services that are centrally constructed, centrally controlled, and lacking distinct or special qualities. But he goes beyond this observation and really tries to EXAPLIN it. His critiques of the profit-motive are strong and right on the mark. Sure, there were many things I disagreed with in this book, and things I would take exception to. But ultimately this was solid scholarship, piercing and profound social theory, and a great leap forward for one of sociology's most productive scholars.
on December 12, 2003
The Globalization Of Nothing is an articulate economic thesis by Professor George Ritzer (University of Maryland) that articulately postulates the short and long-term effects of globalization. Claiming that societies worldwide are moving away from "something" (defined as unique and distinctive indigenous social forms), toward the "nothing" (globalized products that are centrally controlled and blandly the same worldwide), The Globalization Of Nothing warns that societies all over the world today are rapidly losing unique customs, local businesses, gathering places, even the hallmark of personal interaction. The Globalization Of Nothing is a philosophical and clarion warning regarding the creeping and homogenizing impersonality of severe economic forces.
on July 30, 2007
Ritzer's heart is in the right place. As a critique of globalization and the destruction it causes, his book offers powerful insights. But Ritzer cannot resist the cliche and the clever clever rhetorical device that undermine his case. Worse - his narcissistic delight with using words in a manner meant to shock. In this book the word 'nothing' is asked to work beyond what the English language allows it to do. The emperor is unfortunately wearing far from nothing. He is well-clad, and sets the trends for others to follow. Globalization is destroying local traditions, lifestyles, practices and habits, not because it trades in nothing, but because it trades in seriously harmful junk.
on May 26, 2010
Read the introduction, read the appendix, and you have it. The rest is filler. Ritzer's style is readable, but the over-elucidation of uncomplicated ideas, whose evidence itself is largely subjective (how, after all, can one define "magical," or "enchanted" places for any audience that numbers more than one?) makes one question the value of this book.