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Forging Global FordismNazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order$
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Stefan J. Link

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177540

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177540.001.0001

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Ford’s Bible of the Modern Age

Ford’s Bible of the Modern Age

Chapter:
(p.51) 2 Ford’s Bible of the Modern Age
Source:
Forging Global Fordism
Author(s):

Stefan J. Link

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691177540.003.0003

This chapter discusses how European postliberals on both the left and the right grasped Fordism as a compass by which to navigate the economic and ideological confusions of the 1920s. It studies Henry Ford's My Life and Work (1922). What accounts for this book's astonishing impact? Part of the answer lies, as historians have long recognized, in the fascination that all things American exerted upon the world after the Great War. Dazed and diminished by the war, Europeans squinted across the Atlantic and saw an image of the future: a new type of civilization, characterized by mass production and mass-consumption, skyscrapers and Hollywood, assembly lines and flapper dresses. Like no other phenomenon, Henry Ford's factories seemed to exemplify this new American modernity: here the machine-like uniformity of modern industrial production begot a high standard of living and new possibilities for extravagant consumption and cultural expression. Ford's book went straight to the heart of the fierce Soviet debates about socialist industrial development. In essence, My Life and Work and its successor volumes elaborated a producerist agenda for the twentieth century.

Keywords:   postliberals, Fordism, Henry Ford, mass production, mass-consumption, American modernity, industrial production, industrial development, producerism, socialism

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