A talk by Stefan J. Link, from Dartmouth College.
Stefan Link’s paper explores how the industrializing states of Europe turned to mass production and Fordism in the 1930s by investigating what their motives were, how they did it, and what the consequences of this transition were for the future. It shows how Europeans looked to Detroit as the capital of the twentieth century – that era evoked by post-liberal radicals and modernizers of the 1930s in repudiation of obsolete political and economic precepts. Where the nineteenth century had been the age of liberalism, the twentieth would be a post-liberal era; the nineteenth century championed individualism, the twentieth would be the century of the collective, of the “people” and of “space”. If the nineteenth century was the era of laissez-faire, the twentieth century would be the era of economic dirigisme, which was embodied by the invocation of a new style of organization called Fordism. Fordism’s expansion into Europe during the 1930s, Link argues, is the first chapter of a larger story of Fordism’s globalization and spread across the world throughout the whole of the twentieth century.
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