Ford paid five dollars a day

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pages: 538 words: 145,243

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman

anti-communist, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate raider, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, joint-stock company, knowledge worker, mass immigration, means of production, mittelstand, Naomi Klein, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Many of the subassembly lines fed directly into the final line, delivering engines, wheels, radiators, other components, and, ultimately, finished bodies to the appropriate spots for their installation on the moving chassis. Just as at the Derby silk mill and the Waltham cotton mill, a new system of production came together in a remarkably short period of time. In less than two years after the first experiments with the assembly line, Ford had installed the system for all phases of Model T production. The factory had become one huge, integrated machine.16 Ford Labor Problems and the Five Dollar Day Some of the productivity gain of the assembly line came from the greater efficiency of material handling. Some came from the increased division of labor. But much of it came from the sheer intensification of work, the elimination of the ability of workers to wander around looking for a part or tool, to slow down while a foreman wasn’t watching, or to store up finished parts to allow resting later on.

The introduction of the assembly line coincided with a national surge of labor militancy. In Detroit, both the radical Industrial Workers of the World and the new Carriage, Wagon, and Automobile Workers’ Union, affiliated with the more moderate American Federation of Labor, launched organizing drives in the auto industry, leading a few short strikes. Their gains were modest, but their specter haunted employers.23 Ford responded to its labor problems with a program of higher pay and shorter hours, “The Five Dollar Day.” Already, the company had begun instituting policies to retain employees and increase their productivity. In 1913, it introduced a multitiered wage plan that boosted pay as workers’ skills grew and, with longevity, a spur to self-improvement and steady employment. In early January 1914, the company went farther, shortening the workday from nine hours to eight (six days a week), which reduced the strain on workers while allowing Highland Park to go from two shifts to three.

It ran to 149 pages, with everything from distilleries to steel mills, including a dozen auto plants.43 Intellectuals and political activists were caught up in the allure of Fordism, too. Perhaps surprisingly, given Ford’s later reputation as a union-hating, conservative autocrat, some prominent leftists at first praised the Ford system. In early 1916, after visiting the Highland Park plant, Kate Richards O’Hare, a well-known socialist leader, published two articles in The National Rip-Saw, a mass circulation socialist monthly, praising Henry Ford. O’Hare saw the Five Dollar Day, the Sociological Department, and the Ford English School as advancing the lot of workers (along with Ford’s decision to take the power to fire away from foremen). Using a jarringly racist simile, she wrote that as a result of Ford’s policies “men freeze to a job in the Ford plant like a negro to a fat possum.” “If every Capitalist in the United States were to suddenly become converted to Ford’s ideas . . . it would not solve the social problems, eliminate the class struggle or inaugurate the co-operative commonwealth, BUT it would advance the cause of social justice, demonstrate the soundness of the socialist theories and bring the mighty pressure of education to hasten the final and complete emancipation of the working class.”44 Later that same year, John Reed, soon to be the most important chronicler of the Russian Revolution and a founder of the American Communist Party, wrote a similarly glowing if more sophisticated portrait of Ford in the left-wing journal The Masses.


pages: 251 words: 76,128

Borrow: The American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman

asset-backed security, barriers to entry, big-box store, business cycle, cashless society, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, deindustrialization, deskilling, diversified portfolio, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, market bubble, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, new economy, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, technology bubble, transaction costs, women in the workforce

Ford himself wrote that “repetitive labor—the doing of one thing over and over again and always in the same way—is a terrifying prospect to a certain kind of mind. It is terrifying to me. I could not possibly do the same thing day in and day out, but other minds, perhaps I might say to the majority of minds, repetitive operations hold no terrors. In fact, to some types of mind thought is absolutely appalling.”7 Yet even for the majority, the work was intolerable. In the early 1910s, Ford had to rehire his entire workforce three or four times a year because everyone quit. The “five-dollar-day,” started in 1914, when Ford paid his workers $5 a day—twice the market wage—virtually eliminated absenteeism and kept the assembly line running. The higher wage also enabled a new generation of American workers to privilege their consumer identity over their producer identity.8 Wages mattered more than workplace control as long as the work was steady and well paid.

Many of those who lost their jobs in the crisis remain unemployed but go uncounted since they have run out of benefits and haven’t looked for work in the last two weeks (which is how the government measures unemployment). Even those who have found work have often had to accept lower wages. The media celebration of McDonald’s National Hiring Day in early 2011 speaks to how far we have drifted from Ford’s five-dollar day. Even for those with jobs, income interruptions remain as dangerous as ever, as unemployment times lengthen. Since health care insurance is tied to employment, illness and job loss can continue to be a double whammy. Compared to Europe, the limited welfare state has pushed Americans to borrow to bridge unemployment and pay for health care. Even for those with jobs, health care insurance remains expensive and, for the millions of uninsured or underinsured, remains a key cause of bankruptcy.


pages: 242 words: 245

The New Ruthless Economy: Work & Power in the Digital Age by Simon Head

Asian financial crisis, business cycle, business process, call centre, conceptual framework, deskilling, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, informal economy, information retrieval, medical malpractice, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, supply-chain management, telemarketer, Thomas Davenport, Toyota Production System, union organizing

Stephen Meyer, The Five Dollar Day: Labor, Management, and Social Control in the Ford Motor Company, 1908-1921 (Albany, N.Y., 1981), p. 25. 24. Hounshell, From the American System, p. 251. 25. Meyer, Five Dollar Day, pp. 11,20-21. 26. Horace Arnold, Ford Methods and the Ford Shops (New York, 1915), p. 246. Available at the New York Public Library, on microfilm, call number, *XMQ-428. 27. Ibid., p. 174. 28. Ibid., p. 349. 29. Henry Ford, in collaboration with Samuel Crowther, My Life and Work (New York, 1922), quoted in Alfred D. Chandler, Giant Enterprise, Ford, General Motors and the Automobile Industry, Sources and Readings (New York, 1964), p. 39. 30. Meyer, Five Dollar Day, p. 32-35. 31. Ford, My Life and Work, quoted in Meyer, Five Dollar Day, p. 21. 195 NOTES TO CHAPTER 3 32. See, for example, Arnold, Ford Methods and the Ford Shops, pp. 117-27. 33.


pages: 400 words: 129,841

Capitalism: the unknown ideal by Ayn Rand

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business cycle, East Village, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, profit motive, the market place, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, War on Poverty, yellow journalism

As capitalism created countless new markets, so it created an ever-widening market for labor: it multiplied the number and kinds of jobs available, increased the demand and competition for the worker’s services, and thus drove wage rates upward. It was the economic self-interest of employers that led them to raise wages and shorten working hours—not the pressure of labor unions. The eight-hour day was established in most American industries long before unions acquired any significant size or economic power. At a time when his competitors were paying their workers between two and three dollars a day, Henry Ford offered five dollars a day, thereby attracting the most efficient labor force in the country, and thus raising his own production and profits. In the 1920’s, when the labor movement in France and Germany was far more dominant than in the United States, the standard of living of the American worker was greatly superior. It was the consequence of economic freedom. Needless to say, men have a right to organize into unions, provided they do so voluntarily, that is, provided no one is forced to join.


pages: 918 words: 257,605

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, book scanning, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Ford paid five dollars a day, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, impulse control, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, linked data, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, multi-sided market, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, off grid, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, precision agriculture, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Mercer, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, structural adjustment programs, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, union organizing, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck

Henry Ford was clear on this point: “Mass production begins in the perception of a public need.”5 At a time when the Detroit automobile manufacturers were preoccupied with luxury vehicles, Ford stood alone in his recognition of a nation of newly modernizing individuals—farmers, wage earners, and shopkeepers—who had little and wanted much, but at a price they could afford. Their “demand” issued from the same conditions of existence that summoned Ford and his men as they discovered the transformational power of a new logic of standardized, high-volume, low-unit-cost production. Ford’s famous “five-dollar day” was emblematic of a systemic logic of reciprocity. In paying assembly-line workers higher wages than anyone had yet imagined, he recognized that the whole enterprise of mass production rested upon a thriving population of mass consumers. Although the market form and its bosses had many failings and produced many violent facts, its populations of newly modernizing individuals were valued as the necessary sources of customers and employees.

This cycle will be broken only when we acknowledge as citizens, as societies, and indeed as a civilization that surveillance capitalists know too much to qualify for freedom. II. After Reciprocity In another decisive break with capitalism’s past, surveillance capitalists abandon the organic reciprocities with people that have long been a mark of capitalism’s endurance and adaptability. Symbolized in the twentieth century by Ford’s five-dollar day, these reciprocities hearken back to Adam Smith’s original insights into the productive social relations of capitalism, in which firms rely on people as employees and customers. Smith argued that price increases had to be balanced with wage increases “so that the labourer may still be able to purchase that quantity of those necessary articles which the state of the demand for labour… requires that he should have.”10 The shareholder-value movement and globalization went a long way toward destroying this centuries-old social contract between capitalism and its communities, substituting formal indifference for reciprocity.

Rudiger Dornbusch (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991); Baldwin, The Politics of Social Solidarity; Amenta, “Redefining the New Deal”; Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order: 1877–1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967); John Maynard Keynes, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” in Essays in Persuasion (New York: W. W. Norton, 1930). By 2014, a Standard and Poor’s report concluded that income inequality impedes economic growth and destabilizes the social fabric, a fact that Henry Ford had long ago acknowledged with his five-dollar day. See “How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening US Economic Growth, and Possible Ways to Change the Tide,” S&P Capital IQ, Global Credit Portal Report, August 5, 2014, https://www.globalcreditportal.com/ratingsdirect/renderArticle.do?articleId=1351366&SctArtId=255732&from=CM&nsl_code=LIME&sourceObjectId=8741033&sourceRevId=1&fee_ind=N&exp_date=20240804-19:41:13. 44.


pages: 353 words: 98,267

The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter

Alvin Roth, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, new economy, New Urbanism, peer-to-peer, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism, pets.com, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, Veblen good, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

After Eastman committed suicide in 1932 by shooting himself in the heart, the obituary in the New York Times applauded his “advanced ideas in the field of personal industrial relations.” Other pioneers tried to deploy pay as an incentive. Facing low worker morale and high turnover on the production line, in January 1914 Henry Ford raised wages to five dollars a day, doubling at a stroke most workers’ pay. It worked, apparently. Job seekers formed a line around Ford’s shop. The journalist O. J. Abell wrote at the time that after the pay hike Ford was churning out 15 percent more cars a day with 14 percent fewer workers. Henry Ford later observed: “The payment of five dollars a day for an eight-hour day was one of the finest cost-cutting moves we ever made.” Gradually, the rest of the car industry followed. By 1928, wages in the auto industry were already about 40 percent higher than at other manufacturers.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Visteon has never turned a profit. “Winter Is Here, but Spring Is Coming Too” “The U.S. automotive industry has been pushed to the verge of collapse,” the chairman of American Axle decreed two years ago. Michigan has shed two-thirds of its autoworkers in barely a decade. If Detroit is to have a future, then its residents must give up their malignant dreams of its past, the dream of Henry Ford’s five-dollar-a-day wages and River Rouge, where one hundred thousand men once forged raw coal, sand, and iron into Model Ts. His dream was to build a city on the back of such immense and monotonous efficiency, spurning the “fertile and creative inefficiency” Jane Jacobs recognized as the sign of vitality. For the aerotropolis to succeed in restarting Detroit’s evolution, it must turn its back on Ford’s legacy.


pages: 341 words: 89,986

Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made by Tom Wilkinson

Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, double helix, experimental subject, false memory syndrome, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, housing crisis, Kitchen Debate, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, megacity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, starchitect, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

The home had become part of the factory and was – just as much as a glass or tyre plant, a steel press or an iron foundry – a site of production, reconceived as a total process, and thus also subject to the improvements of scientific management. But Ford’s imperial troops eventually retreated from the battlefield of the home. In 1921 he gave up on social engineering and shut down the Sociological Department. Continuing demands for unionisation had embittered Ford. He would not countenance bargaining with his employees and felt that his five-dollar munificence was going unappreciated. That year he instituted a speed-up that squeezed the same output from 40 per cent fewer workers, which allowed him to sack 20,000 men, including 75 per cent of his middle managers. As a result, his profits for 1921–2 jumped to $200 million. At the same time his attitude towards discipline hardened, and he turned from carrot to stick.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

Workers were disqualified if it was determined that the lavish sum of $5 a day would “make of them a menace to society” and “no man was to receive the money who could not use it advisedly.” 21 automakers were forced to follow suit: See, for example, Stephen Meyer III, The Five-Dollar Day: Labor Management and Social Control in the Ford Motor Company, 1908-1921 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981). For an excellent online synopsis of this period in Ford history, see “The Assembly Line and the Five Dollar Day” at http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-17451__18670__18793-53441—,00.html. 21 five-dollar day; and low prices: Ibid., 263. 21 to $290 in the early 1920s: Steven Babson, Working Detroit, 30. 21 that placed goods and spending at the center of social life: Charles McGovern, Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890-1945 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2006). 22 “promise of greater freedom, democracy and quality”: Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic (New York: Knopf, 2003).


pages: 265 words: 74,941

The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work by Richard Florida

banking crisis, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, car-free, carbon footprint, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, total factor productivity, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

That crisis was brought on by the inability of early cities and early industrial society to contain the productive capabilities of the large-scale, mass production economy. Suburbanization was the spatial fix for the industrial age—the geographic expression of that economic model. Henry Ford’s automobiles had been rolling off assembly lines since 1913. After making auto production cheaper and more efficient, Henry Ford realized that a bigger market for his assembly-line cars was needed, so he boosted workers’ wages and introduced the “five-dollar day.” But true Fordism, the combination of mass production and mass consumption, didn’t emerge as a full-blown economic and social model until mass suburbanization—the spatial fix of post–World War II America. Our own collapse, in the early years of the twenty-first century, is the crisis of the latest economic revolution—the rise of an idea-driven knowledge economy that runs more on brains than brawn.

By the time Keynes published his classic General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936, it was clear that government had to spend money to counter economic decline, but it was also clear where that money should be spent: on large-scale infrastructure construction projects such as highways, public works, and even housing. Well before Keynes argued for government spending to stimulate the economy, Henry Ford made the case for a five-dollar working day, so autoworkers could purchase the cars they built. The retail magnate Lincoln Filene—yes, he of Filene’s Basement—said the key challenge facing the economy was to boost consumer demand for all sorts of products. Some even interpreted Keynes as implying that the economy would be better off even if all workers did was dig ditches and fill them up again. But what worked during the Great Depression will not work quite as well now.


pages: 350 words: 110,764

The Problem With Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries by Kathi Weeks

basic income, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, deskilling, feminist movement, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, late capitalism, low-wage service sector, means of production, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, occupational segregation, pink-collar, post-work, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Shoshana Zuboff, social intelligence, two tier labour market, union organizing, universal basic income, wages for housework, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

New York: International Publishers. ———. 1992. The Communist Manifesto. Edited and with an introduction by David McLellan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Massumi, Brian. 1995. “The Autonomy of Affect.” Cultural Critique 31:83–109. Mathers, Andy. 1999. “Euromarch—the Struggle for a Social Europe.” Capital & Class 68:15–19. May, Martha. 1987. “The Historical Problem of the Family Wage: The Ford Motor Company and the Five Dollar Day.” In Families and Work, edited by Naomi Gerstel and Harriet Engel Gross, 111–31. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. McArdle, Louise, et al. 1995. “Total Quality Management and Participation: Employee Empowerment or the Enhancement of Exploitation?” In Making Quality Critical: New Perspectives on Organizational Change, edited by Adrian Wilkinson and Hugh Willmott, 156–72.


pages: 340 words: 92,904

Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars by Samuel I. Schwartz

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, car-free, City Beautiful movement, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Enrique Peñalosa, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, if you build it, they will come, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the wheel, lake wobegon effect, Loma Prieta earthquake, longitudinal study, Lyft, Masdar, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, oil shock, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, skinny streets, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, the built environment, the map is not the territory, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, Wall-E, white flight, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Zipcar

From December of 1908 through the end of 1910, only twelve thousand Model T’s were sold, at an average price of $850—relatively inexpensive, but still out of the reach of most Americans. In 1911, though, Ford moved manufacturing to a new state-of-the-art plant in Highland Park and turned out seventy thousand T’s. It was only the beginning. In 1912, Highland Park made 170,000 cars; in 1913, more than 200,000. In 1914, not only did the factory’s laborers churn out 308,000 cars, but they did so at a salary that Ford had doubled, to the famous “five-dollar day.” By 1915, when Highland Park produced more than half a million Model T’s, the price had dropped under $300 each, which meant that Ford assembly-line workers needed to work only nine weeks or so to earn enough money to buy a brand-new car. And they did. As did millions of others. By 1924, more than half the country’s seventeen million automobiles were Model T’s. All those Fords, along with Dodges, Packards, Buicks, and forgotten models like Brewsters, Biddles, and Westrofts, produced, for the first time, a conflict over the ownership of America’s roads—what became known to historians as the “battle over right-of-way.”


pages: 324 words: 93,606

No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy by Linsey McGoey

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, American Legislative Exchange Council, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, effective altruism, Etonian, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, germ theory of disease, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school choice, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, urban planning, wealth creators

Unlike Rockefeller or Carnegie, Henry Ford was not an early believer in the value of philanthropic trusts. The Ford Foundation wasn’t set up until 1936, after Ford spent decades building his wealth through business practices and personal politics even more controversial than those of Carnegie and Rockefeller. Both an early supporter of high wages and a fierce opponent of labour unions, Ford was something of a paradox. He stunned fellow industrialists in 1914 by introducing a wage in his industries of five dollars a day, for eight hours’ work, at a time when the average wage was two and a half dollars for ten hours’ work. In an interview for World’s Work, Ford explained that a shorter week and higher wages led to more productive employees. The value of permitting more leisure time was, Ford asserted, a ‘cold business fact’. Offering his workers two days off weekly freed them up to spend more time and money on consumer goods.


pages: 502 words: 125,785

The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War by A. J. Baime

banking crisis, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, Ford paid five dollars a day, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, interchangeable parts, Louis Blériot, mass immigration, means of production, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker

. [>] “When Henry Ford took me”: Douglas Brinkley, Wheels for the World (New York: Penguin, 2003), p. 137. [>] “Fancy a jungle of wheels”: Julian Street and Wallace Morgan, Abroad at Home (New York: The Century Company, 1914), p. 93. [>] “The Ford Motor Company”: Brinkley, Wheels for the World, p. 162. [>] “He’s crazy, isn’t he?”: Collier and Horowitz, The Fords, p. 49. [>] “Biblical principles”: Ibid. [>] “see to it that he’s”: Robert Lacey, Ford: The Men and the Machine (Boston: Little, Brown, 1986), pp. 222–23. [>] “Five dollars a day was”: Brinkley, Wheels for the World, p. 171. [>] “We are going to make it”: Beasley, Knudsen, p. 71. [>] “the Zeus of American mythology”: Reynold M. Wik, Henry Ford and Grass Roots America (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972), p. 6. [>] ranked Henry Ford third: Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy (Lincoln, NE: Authors Guild Backinprint.com, 2007), p. 154. [>] “The machine is the new messiah”: Henry Ford, “Machinery, the New Messiah,” The Forum 79, March 1928, pp. 363–64. [>] “Machinery is accomplishing”: Henry Ford and Ray Leone Faurote, My Philosophy of Industry (New York: Coward-McCann, 1929), pp. 18–19. 3.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population

‘The March of Europe’s Little Trumps’, The Economist, 12 December 2015; ‘A Blazing Surprise’, The Economist, 1 June 2013.   3. Dabla-Norris, Era, Kochhar, Kalpana, Suphaphiphat, Nujin, Ricka, Frantisek, and Tsounta, Evridiki, ‘Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective’, IMF Staff Discussion Note, 1 June 2015.   4. Raff, Daniel, and Summers, Lawrence, ‘Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?’, Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 5, No. 4, Pt 2, October 1987.   5. Meyer, III, Stephen, The Five Dollar Day: Labor Management and Social Control in the Ford Motor Company, 1908-1921 (New York, NY: SUNY Press, 1981), quoted in ibid.   6. Hall, Jonathan, and Krueger, Alan, ‘An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States’, Working Paper, Princeton University, Industrial Relations Section, January 2015.   7. 


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator


pages: 1,073 words: 302,361

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan

asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, hive mind, Hyman Minsky, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, South Sea Bubble, time value of money, too big to fail, traveling salesman, value at risk, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Since there were monthly quotas to meet, the Whiteheads ended up with more than their fair share of the furniture. “I always thought that ours was the best-furnished porch in Montclair,” Whitehead quipped. During the Depression, the Whiteheads survived on macaroni and cheese and codfish cakes, recycled clothing, Amos ’n’ Andy, Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy, and Roosevelt’s fireside chats. The family was able to spring for a new 1934 Model A Ford—cost: five hundred dollars. Like so many of his generation, living through the Depression seared in Whitehead an aversion to risk and borrowing money. “I don’t even like credit cards!” he proclaimed. But he did not think of his family as poor “probably because we were no worse off than anyone else I knew.” Whitehead seemed to have a fairly normal childhood, collecting acorns, Indian-head pennies, and stamps.


The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Sugrue, Thomas J.

affirmative action, business climate, collective bargaining, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Ford paid five dollars a day, George Gilder, ghettoisation, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, jobless men, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, New Urbanism, oil shock, pink-collar, postindustrial economy, rent control, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

On Catholic women, gender, and family ideology in the postwar era, see Kathryn Johnson, “Creating an American Catholic Identity: The Politics of Family Life in Postwar American Culture” (paper presented to the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, November 1995), and Johnson’s important dissertation in progress at the University of Pennsylvania. On the family wage, see Martha May, “The Historical Problem of the Family Wage: The Ford Motor Company and the Five Dollar Day,” Feminist Studies 8 (1982): 399–424; Elizabeth Faue, Community of Suffering and Struggle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). On female labor force participation and changing ideas about women and work, see the important article by Susan M. Hartmann, “Women’s Work and the Domestic Ideal in the Early Cold War Years,” in Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, ed.


pages: 416 words: 129,308

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant

Airbnb, animal electricity, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, John Gruber, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Lyft, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, more computing power than Apollo, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, pirate software, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, zero day

Meanwhile, Foxconn is in talks with the Indian government to move some iPhone manufacturing to the second-most-populous nation; it already has factories running in farther-flung locations like the Czech Republic and Brazil, and it’s considering more. It is reportedly building a fleet of so-called Foxbots, iPhone-building robots that might eventually replace human laborers altogether. All of this serves to keep its employees’ wages—which are higher than other factory workers’, it must be noted—low. It’s a pretty astonishing sign of how far the assembly line has evolved. Henry Ford famously began paying his workers five dollars a day in 1914, a high wage for the era, saying he thought they ought to be able to afford the Model Ts they were making. (That wasn’t the whole story, of course—before he increased wages, he had a major attrition problem. The annual turnover rate was 370 percent because people hated the boring, repetitive work.) That’s not true of employees who make iPhones—despite the fact that it’s only a handheld device, not a car.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

His mass producers at one factory spoke fifty different languages, but it didn’t matter, because they needed to know how to do only one task.43 Ford’s success can be measured by the fact that his famous assembly line, when perfected, could turn out a car in ninety-eight minutes! The Model T made its appearance in 1908; it was elegant in design and engineering and available in any color, Ford announced, “as long as it was black.” More important, most middle-class Americans could afford one, including Ford’s workers, whom he started paying five dollars a day in 1914. His goal was for his men to earn wages high enough for them to buy what they produced. And buy they did. The scientific management of labor had already attracted the attention of Frederick Winslow Taylor, who carefully observed men working in the steel industry in the 1880s and 1890s. Taylor brought to his research the conviction that scientific management could blend the interests of bosses and workers.


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

But don’t jump to the conclusion that government is the problem here; the record in private industry offers little solace. The corporate landscape is littered with disaster stories, too. There’s McDonald’s “Innovate”—$170 million down the drain in a failed effort to turn the entire fast-food chain into a “real-time network” that would give execs instantaneous reporting on the precise status of each individual batch of French fries. And there’s Ford’s “Everest” procurement system, a five-year, several-hundred-million-dollar black hole. It’s tempting to view the multitude of monster projects gone bad as anomalies, excrescences of corporate and government bureaucracies run amok. But you will find similar tales of woe emerging from software projects big and small, public and private, old and new. Though details differ, the pattern is depressingly repetitive: Moving targets. Fluctuating goals.


pages: 452 words: 150,785

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business climate, cuban missile crisis, Ford paid five dollars a day, Gunnar Myrdal, invention of the wheel, large denomination, lateral thinking, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, plutocrats, Plutocrats, short selling, special drawing rights, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, very high income

THE origins of the Edsel go back to the fall of 1948, seven years before the year of decision, when Henry Ford II, who had been president and undisputed boss of the company since the death of his grandfather, the original Henry, a year earlier, proposed to the company’s executive committee, which included Ernest R. Breech, the executive vice-president, that studies be undertaken concerning the wisdom of putting on the market a new and wholly different medium-priced car. The studies were undertaken. There appeared to be good reason for them. It was a well-known practice at the time for low-income owners of Fords, Plymouths, and Chevrolets to turn in their symbols of inferior caste as soon as their earnings rose above five thousand dollars a year, and “trade up” to a medium-priced car. From Ford’s point of view, this would have been all well and good except that, for some reason, Ford owners usually traded up not to Mercury, the company’s only medium-priced car, but to one or another of the medium-priced cars put out by its big rivals—Oldsmobile, Buick, and Pontiac, among the General Motors products, and, to a lesser extent, Dodge and De Soto, the Chrysler candidates.


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

With more and more capital tied up in machines, the skills required to operate them naturally became increasingly valuable. At the Ford Motor Company, the cost of constantly training new workers, as many others left the company for better jobs elsewhere, prompted action. To keep its workers, the company introduced the five-dollar-a-day wage, effectively doubling the wages of the employees working in its factories. Since Ford accounted for almost half of the American production of automobiles, increasing the wage to five dollars a day can justly be regarded as “the most dramatic event in the history of wages.”30 In addition to raising wages, Ford also introduced a new welfare program for its workers, and companies like Procter and Gamble, General Electric, and Goodyear Tire soon followed suit, institutionalizing similar programs that returned some of the productivity gains to employees in terms of better wages, medical services, pension plans, and so forth.


pages: 440 words: 132,685

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World by Randall E. Stross

Albert Einstein, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, death of newspapers, distributed generation, East Village, Ford paid five dollars a day, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Livingstone, I presume, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, urban renewal

Edison did not abandon his previous ambitions to make a success of an electric car; he simply made Henry Ford his new partner. In January 1914, Ford announced that he planned within the year to begin manufacturing an electric car using a lightweight battery that Edison had been preparing for some time. Ford told reporters, “I think Mr. Edison is the greatest man in the world and I guess everyone does.” Ford, who had also just announced the adoption of the “Five-Dollar Day,” effectively doubling the wages of virtually all of his workers, was at this historical moment the single most influential businessperson in the country. The New York newspapers, however, had not realized it. When they reported on the plans for the Ford-Edison electric car, they mostly paid compliments to Edison. Ford was portrayed as the party in the transaction who was most in need (“Henry Ford Seeks Mr.



pages: 538 words: 138,544

The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better by Annie Leonard

air freight, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, dematerialisation, employer provided health coverage, energy security, European colonialism, Firefox, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, global supply chain, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, liberation theology, McMansion, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, supply-chain management, the built environment, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, Wall-E, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

Ford’s theories of mass production have been so influential that they are widely referred to as Fordism, but what many people don’t realize is that the assembly line piece of it is only half of the story. As much as it involved increasing mass production, Fordism was equally concerned with facilitating mass consumption because, as Ford realized, producers can’t keep churning out all this Stuff unless someone is going to buy it. In 1914, Ford took the unprecedented step of voluntarily doubling his workers’ salaries to five dollars a day (equivalent to just over one hundred dollars a day in 2008 dollars). He also decreased the workday from nine to eight hours. His reward: lower worker turnover, the ability to run three shifts a day instead of two, and greater car sales as the workers themselves joined his customer base. Other companies watching this process soon followed Ford’s lead, and the foundation for mass consumerism was set.53 With Fordism set into motion, people had the means to buy Stuff, but not yet the inclination.


pages: 378 words: 102,966

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor, David Horsey

big-box store, Community Supported Agriculture, Corrections Corporation of America, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, God and Mammon, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Mark Shuttleworth, McMansion, medical malpractice, new economy, Peter Calthorpe, Ralph Nader, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, The Great Good Place, trade route, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra, young professional

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE “The immediate postwar period does represent a huge change in the kinds of attitudes that Americans have had about consumption,” says historian Susan Strasser, the author of Satisfaction Guaranteed.3 “Discreetly conspicuous waste” got another boost from what marketers called “planned obsolescence.” Products were made to last only a short time so that they would have to be replaced frequently (adding to sales), or they were continually upgraded, more commonly in style than in quality. It was an idea that began long before World War II with Gillette disposable razors, and it soon took on a larger life. Henry Ford, who helped start the ’20s consumer boom by paying his workers a then-fantastic five dollars a day, was a bit of a conservative about style, once promising that consumers could have one of his famous Model T’s in any color as long as it was black. But just before the Great Depression, General Motors introduced the idea of the annual model change. It was an idea that took off after World War II. Families were encouraged to buy a new car every year.



pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game


pages: 428 words: 138,235

The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race, the Americas Cup, Twice by Julian Guthrie

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, cloud computing, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, new economy, pets.com, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, white picket fence, Yogi Berra


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Ford initially agreed, until he heard reports of a British lord discussing the order. Refusing to make anything for any foreign military, as it appeared he was doing, Ford pulled out. Knudsen implored Ford to keep his word, but he made a mistake by invoking Roosevelt’s pleasure at Ford’s initial consent. Knudsen left empty-handed and enraged. The New Deal had been especially tough for Ford to weather. Once hailed universally as the friend of labor with his five-dollar day, he had found himself in a losing battle with unions throughout the 1930s. He blamed Roosevelt’s union policies for severing his direct connection to his labor force. Now his life’s work, his plants and method of manufacture, were being summoned by the government for a cause he didn’t believe in. He was, perhaps above all other men, the most important contributor to the American way of life.


pages: 926 words: 312,419

pages: 1,073 words: 314,528

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game