Fordism’s impact on Consumption

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The Fordist era and the rise of mass consumption relate to each other by two important factors: simplification or generalization and personal detachment. The Fordist era made a huge impact on society during the early twentieth century. Henry Ford was able to make labor easier by using industrial machines to make his model vehicles. Although the industrial revolution provided an assembly line before Ford’s time, he was able to put them into real use. This meant that workers would not have to provide as much labor on making Ford’s vehicles because machinery would do most of the leg work. Now that machines were able to produce Ford’s vehicles through the same process of placing its parts together, labor was barely needed from the workers. The simplified effort that Ford provided to his workers allowed for “mass production of standardized goods” of his automobiles. (Aldridge, 35) In response to the generalization of the production of Ford’s vehicles, consumers in turn would purchase them. This is where the idea of the “rise” of mass consumption comes into play. Alan Aldridge said that the reason Ford paid a high salary was because “his workers were also his customers” (35). The amount of vehicles produced needed to be sold to avoid overproduction. Therefore, his employees were also the consumers of his product. This example of a worker-buyer relationship is seen in the workforce today. Take retail for instance. An employee that works for Apple will have to sell its products or fix technical issues with a customer’s device. At almost all times, Apple employees possess a product from the company such as the IPhone. The brand, in this case Apple, becomes the mediator between the product and the customer rather than the employee. This... ... middle of paper ... ...en undermined by the logic of mass consumerism, and in many companies has ceased to be a serious option.” (47) As college students, we discover what our passions are and put them into use in the job market. Take a business major in fashion for instance. Her goal is to be a manager of a fashion company for Coach. She might have to start as an assistant to the manager or CEO of the company and may or may not like who she works with. If this is the case, she will have to use her “emotional labor” to get along with other co-workers. As an assistant, she does not have much input on what designs are suitable for the company because she is not in the position to do so. This can discourage her to share her ideas with her boss because there is a high chance of it being denied. Although she is aiming to be a CEO one day, her faith in herself and abilities may be questioned.

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