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Fordism, a details stage of economic breakthrough in the 20th century. Fordism is a term widely offered to define (1) the system of mass manufacturing that to be pioneered in the at an early stage 20th century through the Ford Motor agency or (2) the typical postwar setting of financial growth and also its associated political and social order in advanced capitalism.

From beginnings to crisis

Henry Ford helped popularize the first meaning in the 1920s, and also Fordism involved signify modernity in general. For example, composing in prison in the interwar period, the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci debated the economic, political, and also social obstacles come the transport of Americanism and also Fordism to continent Europe and also highlighted that potential transformative power when regulated by workers rather than conservative forces. Gramsci’s comments inspired research on postwar Fordism and its crisis.

In its second meaning, Fordism has actually been analyzed along four dimensions. First, together an industrial paradigm, it requires mass production of standardized goods on a moving assembly line using dedicated machinery and semiskilled labour. Second, together a national accumulation (or growth) regime, it entails a building cycle of fixed production and mass consumption. Third, as a setting of regulation, Fordism comprises (1) an institutionalized compromise in between organized labour and large business whereby workers accept administration prerogatives in return for increasing wages, (2) monopolistic vain between large firms based on cost-plus pricing and also advertising, (3) centralized financial capital, deficit finance, and also credit-based massive consumption, (4) state treatment to secure full employment and also establish a welfare state, and (5) the embedding that national economic situations in a liberal international financial order. Fourth, together a type of social life, Fordism is identified by fixed media, mass transport, and mass politics.

The Fordist mode of growth came to be dominant in advanced capitalism during postwar reconstruction and is often attributed with facilitating the lengthy postwar boom. Throughout the 1970s, however, that is underlying dilemm tendencies became much more evident. The expansion potential the mass manufacturing was slowly exhausted, and also there to be intensified working-class resistance come its alienating functioning conditions; the industry for mass consumer durables ended up being saturated; a decreasing profit rate synchronized with stagflation; a fiscal dilemm developed; internationalization make state economic management less effective; clients began to refuse standardized, governmental treatment in the welfare state; and also American economic dominance and also political hegemony were intimidated by European and also East oriental expansion. These phenomena triggered a wide-ranging find for solutions to the situation of Fordism, either by restoring its typical growth dynamics to produce a neo-Fordist regime or by emerging a new post-Fordist build-up regime and mode of regulation.


The term post-Fordism is used to explain both a reasonably durable form of economic organization that happened to arise after Fordism and a new form of financial organization that in reality resolves the situation tendencies of Fordism. In neither instance does the term as such have any type of real confident content. This is why some theorists propose substantive alternatives such as Toyotism, Fujitsuism, Sonyism, and Gatesism or, again, informational capitalism, the knowledge-based economy, and the network economy. Social scientists embraced three main approaches to identifying the post-Fordist regime: (1) a focus on the transformative function of brand-new technologies and practices concerning material and also immaterial production, especially new information and communication technologies and also their duty in facilitating a new, more flexible, networked global economy; (2) a emphasis on the leading economic sectors that allow a shift from mass industrial production come postindustrial production; and (3) a focus on how major crisis tendencies that Fordism are addressed through the consolidation the a brand-new and stable collection of economic and extra-economic institutions and forms of governance that facilitate the rise and also consolidation of financially rewarding new processes, products, and markets. However, even years after the dilemm of Fordism emerged in the mid-1970s, discussions continue about whether a stable post-Fordist order has arised and, indeed, whether Fordist stability was a parenthesis in one otherwise disorderly, crisis-prone capitalist system.


Robotic welding at an auto plant.
Nordic Photos/SuperStock

Those who believe that a stable post-Fordism has already emerged or, at least, is feasible watch its key features as: (1) functional production based on flexible devices or systems and a functional workforce; (2) a stable mode of growth based upon flexible production, economies of scope, increasing incomes for experienced workers and also the organization class, boosted demand among the better-off for differentiated goods and services, raised profits based on permanent innovation and the complete utilization of functional capacity, reinvestment in an ext flexible production equipment and techniques and brand-new sets the products, and so on; (3) farming economic polarization between multiskilled workers and the unskilled, together with a decrease in national or industrial cumulative bargaining; (4) the rise of flexible, lean, and also networked firms that emphasis on their core competences, develop strategic alliances, and outsource plenty of other activities; (5) the prominence of hypermobile, rootless, private bank credit and also forms that cybercash that circulate internationally; (6) the subordination of federal government finance to global money and also currency markets; (7) a change from postwar welfare claims (as described by man Maynard Keynes) to politics regimes that are much more concerned with international competitiveness and also innovation, with complete employability as opposed to tasks for life, and with more flexible, market-friendly forms of economic and also social governance; and also (8) increasing issue with governing local, regional, supranational, and also even worldwide economies.

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These functions of post-Fordism space unevenly developed, and also there are crucial continuities v Fordist problems even in the advanced capitalist economies. Post-Fordism can likewise assume various forms in different contexts. And although some commentators think that post-Fordism will certainly prove stable, rather argue the capitalism’s inherent contradictions mean that that is no much more likely come prove steady than Fordism prior to it.