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Encyclopedia > Fordism

Fordism, named after Henry Ford, has different meanings in the United States and Europe. Henry Ford (1919) Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Fordism in U.S.

In the U.S. Fordism is the economic philosophy that widespread prosperity and high corporate profits can be achieved by high wages that allow the workers to purchase the output they produce, such as automobiles.


"Fordism" was coined about 1910 to describe Henry Ford's successes in the automobile industry. Ford improved mass production methods and introduced the assembly line by 1913. He sold 10 million inexpensive Model T automobiles, and made a vast fortune, while his employees became the highest paid factory workers in the world. As promoted internationally by the proponents of Fordism, Detroit served as a model of urbanism placed in the service of optimized industrial production. Henry Ford (1919) Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. ... Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardised products on production lines. ... Modern car assembly line. ... Motto: Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus (We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes - this motto was adopted after the disastrous 1805 fire that devastated the city) Nickname: The Motor City and Motown Location in Wayne County, Michigan Founded Incorporated July 24, 1701 1815  County Wayne County Mayor...


As a technological fix, Fordism was part of the Efficiency Movement which characterized the American Progressive Era. After the Great Depression began, American policy was to keep wages high in hopes that Fordism would reverse the downturn.[citation needed] The Efficiency Movement was a major dimension of the Progressive Era in the United States. ... In the United States, the Progressive Era was a period of reform which lasted from the 1890s through the 1920s. ... For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ...


History of Fordism Idea in Europe

Maier shows that "Taylorism, that is the process of labour discipline and workshop organization based upon supposedly scientific studies of human efficiency and incentive systems, attracted European intellectuals after 1900. Taylor's social engineering served as model and spur for both German and Italian fin de siècle and World War I industry. After 1918, however, the goal of Taylorist labor efficiency thought in Europe moved to "Fordism", that is, reorganization of the entire productive process by means of the moving assembly line, standardization, and the mass market. The Great Depression blurred the utopian vision of American technocracy, but World War II and its aftermath have revived the ideal. Taylorism or Scientific management is the name of the approach to management and Industrial/Organizational Psychology initiated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in his 1911 monograph The Principles of Scientific Management. ...


Under the inspiration of Antonio Gramsci, Marxists picked up the Fordism concept in the 1930s and in the 1970s developed "Post-Fordism." Antonio and Bonanno (2000) trace the development of Fordism and subsequent economic stages, from globalization through neoliberal globalization, during the 20th century, emphasizing America's role in globalization. "Fordism" for Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci meant routinized and intensified labor to promote production. They argue that Fordism peaked in the post-World War II decades of American dominance and mass consumerism but collapsed due to political and cultural crises in the 1970s. Advances in technology and the end of the Cold War ushered in a new "neoliberal" phase of globalization in the 1990's. They argue that negative elements of Fordism, such as economic inequality, remained, however, and related cultural and environmental troubles surfaced that inhibited America's pursuit of democracy. Antonio Gramsci (IPA: ) (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist. ... Antonio Gramsci (IPA: ) (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was an Italian writer, politician and political theorist. ...


Marxist variations

Fordism is also a Marxist term for a "form of production" or "production paradigm" that spread from the US to Western Europe after 1945. It consisted of domestic mass production and stabilizing economic policies that provided national demand and social stability by paying relatively high wages, and it also included various other economic policies. Fordism is related to Keynesianism and also Taylorism. The social-scientific concept of "Fordism" was introduced by the French regulation school, sometimes known as regulation theory, which is a Marxist-influenced strand of political economy. According to the regulation school, capitalist production paradigms are born from the crisis of the previous paradigm; a newborn paradigm is also bound to fall into crisis sooner or later. The crisis of Fordism became apparent to Marxists in late 1960s. Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardised products on production lines. ... Economics is the social science studying production and consumption through measurable variables. ... Keynesian economics, or Keynesianism, is an economic theory based on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, as put forward in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936 in response to the Great Depression of the 1930s. ... Taylorism or Scientific management is the name of the approach to management and Industrial/Organizational Psychology initiated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in his 1911 monograph The Principles of Scientific Management. ... The Regulation School was a group of writers on history, in particular economic history. ... The Regulation School was a group of writers on history, in particular economic history. ...


Marxist regulation theory talks of Regimes of Capital Accumulation (ROA) and Modes of Regulation (MOR). ROAs are periods of relatively settled economic growth and profit across a nation or global region. Such regimes eventually become exhausted, falling into crisis, and are torn down as capitalism seeks to remake itself and return to a period of profit. These periods of capital accumulation are "underpinned", or stabilised, by MOR. A plethora of laws, institutions, social mores, customs and hegemonies both national and international work together to create the environment for long-run capitalist profit.


Fordism is a tag used to characterise the post-1945 long boom experienced by western nations. It is typified by a cycle of mass production and mass consumption, the production of standardized (most often) consumer items to be sold in (typically) protected domestic markets, and the use of Keynesian economic policies. Whilst the standard pattern is post-war America, national variations of this standard norm are well known. Regulation theory talks of National Modes of Growth to denote different varieties of Fordism across western economies.


Fordism as a ROA broke down, dependent on national experiences, somewhere between the late 1960s and the mid-1970s. Western economies experienced slow or nil economic growth, rising inflation and growing unemployment. The period after Fordism has been termed Post-Fordist and Neo-Fordist. The former implies that global capitalism has made a clean break from Fordism (including overcoming its inconsistencies) whilst the latter that elements of the fordist ROA continued to exist. The Regulation School preferred the term After-Fordism (or the French Après-Fordisme) to denote that what comes after Fordism was, or is, not yet clear. Post-fordism is the mode of production increasingly found in most industrialized countries today, which can be contrasted with fordism, the productive method typified by Henry Fords car plants, in which workers work on a production line, performing specialised tasks repetetively. ...


Fordism and the Soviet Union

Historian Thomas Hughes (Hughes 2004) has detailed the way in which the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s enthusiastically embraced Fordism and Taylorism, importing American experts in both fields as well as American engineering firms to build parts of its new industrial infrastructure. The concepts of the Five Year Plan and the centrally planned economy can be traced directly to the influence of Taylorism on Soviet thinking. Hughes quotes Stalin: Taylorism or Scientific management is the name of the approach to management and Industrial/Organizational Psychology initiated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in his 1911 monograph The Principles of Scientific Management. ... Five-Year Plans or Piatiletkas (пятилетка) were a series of nation-wide centralized exercises in rapid economic development in the Soviet Union. ... Iosif (usually anglicized as Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვი&#4314...

American efficiency is that indomitable force which neither knows nor recognises obstacles; which continues on a task once started until it is finished, even if it is a minor task; and without which serious constructive work is impossible . . . The combination of the Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency is the essence of Leninism. (Hughes 2004, 251)

Hughes describes how, as the Soviet Union developed and grew in power, both sides, the Soviets and the Americans, chose to ignore or deny the contribution of American ideas and expertise. The Soviets did this because they wished to portray themselves as creators of their own destiny and not indebted to their rivals. Americans did so because they did not wish to acknowledge their part in creating a powerful rival in the Soviet Union.


Other meanings

The concept may also refer to some of Ford's social views:

  • It may also be applied to the fictional religion-like ideology described in Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World.
  • It often describes the paternalistic "taking care of the worker" - a "family-like" mentality seen first in the auto-industry (Ford). The paternalism could be kindly (providing benefits) or restrictive (for example, Ford discouraged smoking even off premises).
  • In a broader sense, Fordism refers to the classical 20th century consumer society: high productivity allows for high wages, mass production allows for mass consumption. (e.g. during the "economic miracle" of post-war West-Germany)

Aldous Leonard Huxley (July 26, 1894 – November 22, 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. ... This article is about the literary concept. ... For other uses, see Brave New World (disambiguation). ...

Post-Fordism

Most employees in the Fordist structure were able to purchase the product they produced. Indeed post-Fordism has arisen in part due to the increasing interconnectedness of the world.[citation needed] The movement of capital has become more fluid, and nation-states have withdrawn significantly from the economic sphere. The economies of western countries have shifted away from manufacturing and industry and towards service and the knowledge economy. Meanwhile, industry has moved from the west to second- and third-world countries, where production is cheaper.


References

  • Antonio, Robert J. and Bonanno, Alessandro. "A New Global Capitalism? From 'Americanism and Fordism' to 'Americanization-globalization.'" American Studies 2000 41(2-3): 33-77. Issn: 0026-3079
  • Banta, Martha. Taylored Lives: Narrative Production in the Age of Taylor, Veblen, and Ford. U. of Chicago Press, 1993. 431 pp.
  • Holden, Len. "Fording the Atlantic: Ford and Fordism in Europe" in Business History Volume 47, #1 Jan 2005 pp 122-127
  • Hughes, Thomas P. 2004. American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm 1870-1970. 2nd ed. The University of Chicago Press.
  • Bernard Doray, From Taylorism to Fordism: A Rational Madness (1988)
  • Jane Jenson; "'Different' but Not 'Exceptional': Canada's Permeable Fordism," Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Vol. 26, 1989
  • Max Koch. Roads to Post-Fordism: Labour Markets and Social Structures in Europe (2006)
  • Peter J. Ling. America and the Automobile: Technology, Reform, and Social Change chapter on “Fordism and the Architecture of Production”
  • Maier, Charles S. "Between Taylorism and Technocracy: European Ideologies and the Vision of Industrial Productivity." Journal of Contemporary History (1970) 5(2): 27-61. Issn: 0022-0094 Fulltext online at Jstor
  • Mary Nolan; Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany Oxford University Press, 1994 online
  • Hasso Spode: "Fordism, Mass Tourism and the Third Reich." Journal of Social History 38(2004): 127-155.
  • Bruce Pietrykowski; "Fordism at Ford: Spatial Decentralization and Labor Segmentation at the Ford Motor Company, 1920-1950," Economic Geography, Vol. 71, (1995) 383-401online
  • Roediger, David, ed "Americanism and Fordism - American Style: Kate Richards O'hare's 'Has Henry Ford Made Good?'" Labor History 1988 29(2): 241-252. Socialist praise for Ford in 1916
  • Haruhito Shiomi and Kazuo Wada; Fordism Transformed: The Development of Production Methods in the Automobile Industry Oxford University Press, 1995
  • Steven Tolliday and Jonathan Zeitlin eds. The Automobile Industry and Its Workers: Between Fordism and Flexibility (1987)comparative analysis of developments in Europe, Asia, and the United States from the late 19th century to the mid-1980s
  • Watts, Steven. The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century (2005)
  • Williams, Karel, Colin Haslam and John Williams, "Ford versus `Fordism': The Beginning of Mass Production?" Work, Employment & Society, Vol. 6, No. 4, 517-555 (1992), stress on Ford's flexibility and commitment to continuous improvements

External links

  • Digitalfordism (a library of texts in English, German etc.)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fordism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (807 words)
Fordism is related to keynesianism and also taylorism.
The social scientific concept of "Fordism" was introduced by French regulation school, sometimes known as regulation theory, which is a Marxist-influenced strand of political economy.
Fordism is a tag used to characterise the post WWII (and in some case arguably pre war) long boom experienced by western nations.
NationMaster.com - Encyclopedia: Fordism (1521 words)
A CRITIQUE OF THE FORDISM OF by Ferruccio Gambino
According to the regulation school, Fordism penetrated the vital ganglia of the US engineering industry and became its catalysing force in a period that is undefined, but presumably in the 1920s, delivering high wages and acting as the cutting edge of the consumption of consumer durables.
Fordism mobilised industrial capacities at both the extremes of high skilled and low skilled labour, without the system being destabilised by this polarisation; satisfactory profits were produced from mass consumption, which kept pace with growing investments.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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