Sample Term Paper
Human beings are incapable of making informed decisions when they alternate between “hot” and “cold” states. According to a researcher from Jon Gertner’s Futile Pursuit of Happiness, “‘hot’ states (those of anxiety, courage, fear, drug craving, sexual excitation and the like) and ‘cold’ states of rational calm” (172) are why people still eat fast food no matter what they say, failing to realize that in a hot state of hunger and craving it can be very difficult to resist what most of the society has been hardwired to eat since childhood, even while in a cold state, and especially when there is a fast food restaurant at almost every corner. Furthermore, another researcher in one of Gertner’s articles writes that knowing the greater outcome of something will result in “improving ‘institutional judgment’- how we spend health care dollars, for example- but less sanguine about using it to improve our personal judgment” (174). This means people are capable of making beneficial decisions that are not directly aimed at them, but when it comes to personal decisions, even knowing the greater outcome will not stop one from making a poor decision. Gertner himself also states “mistakes of expectation can lead directly to mistakes in choosing what we think will give us pleasure” (168).
This means the founder of McDonald’s knew all along the weaknesses of not an individual, but of a nation, and markets toward those weaknesses. Well, not necessarily, however when these fast food companies see how easy it is to influence a nation of people, especially when they are young, turning them into adults who believe happiness may stem from a fat cheeseburger because it did when they were younger, these mistakes people make into thinking fast food will make them happy when afterward it does not do as much but satisfy hunger, if that, well that is all these companies need to hook a consumer, using Gertner’s impact bias, “‘impact’ meaning the errors we make in estimating both the intensity and duration of our emotions and ‘bias’ our tendency to err” (168), against them.
With McDonald’s not only influencing America but the whole world, these fast food industries create an international culture all under the influence of what may eventually kill off society, their product. It seems Americans are making poorer decisions when it comes to their lifestyle, becoming lazier and fatter as a result, and as some may say that genetics may be a factor in the rising obesity rate, “the American gene pool has not changed radically in the past few decades. What has changed is the nation’s way of eating and living” (Schlosser 507).
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