The Shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism and Possible Future Routes for Capitalist Organization

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The Shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism and Possible Future Routes for Capitalist Organization Capitalism continues to be a revolutionary form of social organization. Modes of production, the ordering of daily activities, and the material practices and processes of social reproduction have undergone numerous changes since capitalism’s inception. Mapping a history of capitalism’s different stages and forms – both social and institutional – would be an arduous task, complicated by the fact that in each of capitalism’s stages, features and characteristics of past and future stages abound. Nevertheless, the current form of capitalism marks a unique departure from previous stages. Euphemisms and catchphrases concerning late 20th century capitalism have become all too common. "Globalization" has become a catchphrase for academics, journalists, and citizens alike. However, many of the claims about a new, distinguishable form of capitalist organization – a "post-Fordist" or "flexible" system of accumulation – are overstated. Despite the dominance of Neoliberalism following the collapse of Fordism, the current epoch does not occasion an economically, environmentally, or socially sustainable regime of accumulation. In this paper I will explain, drawing from the Regulation School, the shift from Fordism to what many have termed "post-Fordism," and use this analysis to suggest future routes for capitalist organization. Indeed, until a socially reproducible compromise to Neo-liberalism is found, aggressive competition and regulatory undercutting will further amplify destructive business cycles, abject poverty, and environmental destruction. In order to understand the shift away from Fordism it is first necessary to examine the... ... middle of paper ... ...t within the laws dictated by Neoliberalism, but providing protection to nations, regions, and people from excessive fluctuations in trade and financial activity. "The essence of the after-Fordist regulatory problem is the age-old one of countering the destructive effects of competition." Accumulation must also resolve problems of environmental sustainability, as natural resources continue to dwindle at ever-increasing rates. Indeed, it would be foolish to predict how a global capitalist organization and mode of accumulation will look in twenty years – capitalism continues to transform itself in surprising ways – nevertheless, Regulation Theory is useful is in cautioning against the further ascendancy of Neoliberalism. Indeed, changes to the international regime of accumulation and mode of social protection must occur to realize a sustainable existence for all.

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