Article | September 16, 2021
Read more about `Roundtable Panel—Stefan Link’s Forging Global Fordism: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order`
While engaging with classic arguments in social theory as well as business and economic history, Stefan Link develops an alternative conception of Fordism through its transnational history, training his focus on international political economy—at times with an engineers’-eye-view. Forging Global Fordism tells the story of Fordist production's appeal and transfer to ideologically opposed contexts, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. For Link, Fordism constituted a “dual use” technology amenable to mass consumption and military demand alike. A work of rich research in firm and state archives, FGF shifts gears between shop-floor dynamics and international negotiations, ideological debates and structural conditions. Contrary to many U.S. social and labor histories, Link depicts Henry Ford as an iconoclastic inheritor of Midwestern producer populism, whose works achieved the first mass production of technically sophisticated machinery and doctrine espoused the production of objects and the fulfillment of needs over the interests of finance. Upon this reinterpretation, which suggests liaisons to the binaries explored variously in Jeffrey Herf’s “reactionary modernism” and Moishe Postone’s analysis of modern antisemitism, he examines how European “postliberals” found Ford’s worldview alluring as a solution to the problem of the collapsed nineteenth-century order during the interwar period. We have invited three scholars with wide-ranging perspectives—Melissa Teixeira, Oscar Sanchez-Sibony, and Heidi Voskuhl—to offer responses to Forging Global Fordism. Stefan Link then replies to the roundtable contributions.