Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany

Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany

by Mary Nolan
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195070216

ISBN-13: 9780195070217

Pub. Date: 08/28/1994

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In much the same way that Japan has become the focus of contemporary American discussion about industrial restructuring, Germans in the 1920s debated economic reform in terms of Americanism and Fordism, seeing in the United States an intriguing vision for a revitalized economy and a new social order. During this period, Germans were fascinated by American economic

Overview

In much the same way that Japan has become the focus of contemporary American discussion about industrial restructuring, Germans in the 1920s debated economic reform in terms of Americanism and Fordism, seeing in the United States an intriguing vision for a revitalized economy and a new social order. During this period, Germans were fascinated by American economic success and its quintessential symbols, Henry Ford and his automobile factories.

Mary Nolan's Visions of Modernity explores the contradictory ways in which Germans envisioned a more efficient or "rationalized" economic system, and anguished over the social and cultural costs of adopting the American version of modernity. These debates deeply shaped German perceptions of what was possible and desirable in terms of technology and work, family and gender relations, consumption and culture. Germans imitated economic Americanism ambivalently and incompletely.

Embodying an original approach to an important historical period, Visions of Modernity will appeal not only to scholars of German history and those interested in European social and working-class history, but also to industrial sociologists and business scholars.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195070217
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/28/1994
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.08(d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsxi
1.Introduction3
Part IImagining America
2.Journeys to America17
Travelers and Commentators18
Motives22
Itineraries26
3.The Infatuation with Fordism30
The Man and the Book32
Fordism as Productivism36
Taylorism and Fordism42
Fordism as Consumption50
Fordism as Ideology54
4.American Economic Success and German Emulation58
The Secrets of American Economic Success59
Americanizing Germany/Germanizing Americanism70
5.Work, Workers, and the Workplace in America83
Quality Work and the Quality Worker84
Intensity and Monotony90
Joy in Work98
The Shop Floor and the Firm103
6.The Cultural Consequences of Americanism108
Mass Consumption109
The American Woman120
Part IIModernizing Germany
7.The Paradoxes of Productivism131
The National Productivity Board133
Ruhr Coal Mining137
Iron and Steel143
Machine Making149
8.Winners and Losers154
Prices155
Costs158
Wages160
Profits165
Work and Unemployment167
Reactions and Responses172
9.Engineering the New Worker179
Company Social Policy and Social Rationalization180
Origins and Ideology of Dinta185
Constructing the New Worker192
Company Newspapers and Social Programs196
Trade Union Responses200
The Battle for the Soul of the Worker203
10.Hoysework Made Easy206
The RKW and Housework207
The New Woman in the New Home211
The Ambiguities of Household Rationalization217
Epilogue227
Notes237
Bibliographic Essay307
Index314

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