The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930: Selected and Edited by John Tyree Fain

By Donald Davidson | Go to book overview

The World as Ford Factory Critic's Almanac November 9, 1930

There is magnificence in this new book of Henry Ford's --this book of the splendid title, Moving Forward, which comes to us with the additional signature of Samuel Crowther as a kind of shrewd Boswellian collaborator. The title itself is a magnificent rebuke to Mr. Ford's fellow-industrialists, now wallowing sadly in the trough of business depression. And with what magnificent gall does Mr. Ford advise us, at this time of all times, that "the day when we can actually have overproduction is far distant"; that the five-day week and the eight-hour day must be still further curtailed; and that the familiar Ford doctrine of raising wages and lowering prices must go on indefinitely. Whether these pronouncements are wise or foolhardy, I am not enough of an economist to say. I can well imagine that they may seem almost wicked to some merchants and manufacturers. I am more concerned with the theories of industry and of human life that lie back of the Ford-ideas, and that perhaps have never before been so persuasively stated as in this book.

Yet since Mr. Ford's book is not all doctrine, let me first pay tribute to the part which is not. The middle chapters of the book, such as "Changing Over an Industry," "Flexible Mass Production," "A Millionth of an Inch," give us rather full glimpses into the workings of the Ford plants. Here Mr. Ford appears as the honest mechanic--or factory manager--who has an all-consuming zeal for his work. Herein, who will say that Ford is not a genius--a genius who scraps overnight "the largest automobile plant in the world," in order to replace Model T with Model A; who founds rubber plantations in Brazil, against an evil day; who commands the services of the admirable Johansson,

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