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Fordism’s Impact On Consumption Essay

1032 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

The interaction between buyers and retailers became less personal as advertising and branding became prominent. Aldridge says, “The growing impersonality of buyer-seller relations; self-service; advertising; packaging; and rise of branded goods” display the transition of a customer into a consumer. (35) By means of merchandise being generalized and turned into an endorsement, people’s trust in them have become uncertain. This may be because with an employee-customer relationship, customers are informed about the “open” product they are buying and can actually interact as compared to a packaged product with a given label on it. This is where the ideas of advertising, packaging, and rise of branded goods must work together to establish an employee-customer relationship rather than a product-consumer one. The Mr. Clean cleaning products, for example, try to establish the employee customer relationship by giving the consumer someone to interact with. Although Mr. Clean is a fictional character, he is able to gain a consumer’s trust by advertising the effectiveness of his sponges and cleansers. If a consumer is debating whether to buy a packaged non-branded sponge or the sponge with Mr. Clean on the package, he or she is more likely to buy the Mr. Clean sponge because of its immediate advertisement on the packaging as well as its brand name. Like time though, trends are always changing and so are society’s needs. Mr. Clean’s products must keep up with these trends in order to keep consumer satisfaction and unfortunately, Henry Ford was not able to keep up with them. Additionally, the idea of employability has lead society to ‘end of career.’
Fordism had come to an end since it had failed to keep up with consumer trends and changes in the competitive market. In Consumption Aldridge said that “communicators (or dupes) want to convey symbolic messages about their social status.” (40) Consumers want to show they are the consumers of “today” rather than “yesterday” by making constant changes in interests and personal needs. One trend that...

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