Ford Motor Company
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Fordism in the United States
In the United States, 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.
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.
Fordism, named after Henry Ford, is a notion of a modern economic and social system based on an industrialized and standardized form of mass production. The concept is used in various social theories and management studies about production and related socio-economic phenomena. It is also related to the idea of mass consumption and changes of working condition of workers over time. Nowadays different theoretical positions assume that Fordism has either been replaced or continues to exist in various forms.