Blog Post 3

Fordism

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Fordism is an economic system that thrives on mass production and subsequently mass consumption. Fordism combines both human and machine efficiency to create products for consumption. Despite globalization disrupting the manufacturing model of Fordism, an example that still exists today would be Fast Food. Fast Food combines human skill and machinery to run efficiently and produce products to the lowest possible competitive price.

Marco Cenzatti defines Fordism as:

  • System of production: mass production
  • System of regulatory mechanisms that mediates production & consumption
  • Exist in a market big enough to absorb goods and homogeneity of items

Mass production, while falling into Fordism, is rather just an element that it must fit the standards of perfection and is dictated by scientific management and Taylorism. Taylorism aims to be the most efficient by utilizing the same simple task over and over. This would fall under the example of an assembly line.

We see that mass production goes beyond consumer products to homes and even communities. Once someone owns a mass-produced home, they are then tied to the mass consumption of household products and appliances for that home. There is always an importance of always having the latest and greatest and “keeping up with the Joneses”. We see an example of this in the reading through the development of Levittown, which “epitomizes the revolution which has brought mass production to the housing industry”(TIME 1). This community was mass-produced and was able to stabilize the construction industry. Although they were built liken an assembly line, they were built my American workers with American machinery and materials. Levit and his developments are a prime example of mass consumption in the suburban context.

Sources:

TIME magazine 3-7-1950- Levittown

Lecture 1/31/17 and 2/2/2017 by Marco Cenzatti- Environmental Design 4B, UC Berkeley

image source: gifovea.tumblr.com

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