by Morley Evans
In 1914, Henry Ford started an industrial revolution by more than doubling wages to $5 a day—a move that helped build the U.S. middle class and the modern economy.
Could the policy of greater productivity (defined as more production from fewer workers and a lower aggregate wage bill) result in the contraction of the world economy as demand shrinks because people can afford to buy less? What if everything could be produced by machines owned by a few über rich capitalists and wages were zero? (We should remind ourselves that every scheme to put ownership of "the means of production" into "the hands of the people" has failed miserably.) Who would buy the production? How would they buy? Was Henry Ford a century ahead of his time? Here's a report from the Real News Network:
During the 1930s — like today — the world's financial system was stressed and people everywhere (except Nazi Germany) were suffering through The Great Depression. This period followed The Roaring Twenties which followed The Great War. This has been traced directly back to The Federal Reserve System and policies in Washington. The Great Depression was ended by World War II and the magic of the printing press: there suddenly was lots of money for war materiel and soldiers — just like now!
SIDEBAR: Henry Ford was extremely suspicious of Wall Street, bankers and the Federal Reserve. Ford also didn't like advertising, easy credit, annual model styling changes, planned obsolescence, organized labour, public relations, or war. Ford didn't like people who did like these things, the old fuddy-duddy. Henry Ford didn't like jazz either, but his grandson Henry Ford II liked jazz so much he had a New Orleans jazz band play for his funeral procession which included hundreds of grieving back people. Henry Ford II entered into a partnership that has lasted for 6 decades with the Japanese car manufacturer, Mazda, following The Pacific War.