Refashioning Fordism Under American Hegemony
This concluding chapter explains that American-style postwar “Fordism” was only one pattern in the mottled global legacy left behind by Henry Ford. It was not the least ideological effect of American hegemony that in the 1960s modernization theory could universalize this unique historical arrangement — what can be called “high mass-consumption” — as the target of successful development itself. Responding to the crisis of the 1970s and 1980s, social scientists added a next phase: “Post-Fordism” or “post-industrial society” signaled deindustrialization to some and the promise of a “service and information economy” to others. What united these constructs was a thinking in sequential stages, a preoccupation with national patterns of development, and a theory of causation centered on self-generating forces. It has become clear that cycles of industrialization and deindustrialization are inseparable from concerted efforts to restructure the global division of labor, that productive dual-use technologies are fiercely contested by states and corporations alike, that investment and disinvestment cannot be dislodged from contests over the terms of globalization, and that capital has no autonomous power outside of the designs and struggles of political actors.
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