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95

Citizens as Customers: Considerations on the New Politics of Consumption

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published in New Left Review 76, July/August 2012, 27–47

Streeck, W. (2016). Citizens as Customers: Considerations on the New Politics of Consumption. In Streeck, W. How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System. Verso, pp. 95-112

97

By 1971 there were clear signs that the – in hindsight, idyllic – world of post-war Fordism was coming to an end. As workers began to rebel, demanding an increasing share of profits after two decades of uninterrupted growth and full employment, customers were also becoming more difficult. Throughout the West, markets for mass-produced, standardized consumer durables were showing signs of saturation. Basic needs had by and large been covered; if the washing machine was still washing, why buy a new one? Replacement purchases, however, could not sustain comparable rates of growth. The emerging crisis manifested itself most visibly among the prototypical mass producers of the Fordist age, the automobile industry, whose manufacturing capacity had grown inordinately, but which now found itself squeezed between increasing worker resistance to its Taylorist factory regime and growing consumer indifference to its mass-market product regime. [...]

the solution came in the form of customised production

—p.97 by Wolfgang Streeck 4 years, 9 months ago

By 1971 there were clear signs that the – in hindsight, idyllic – world of post-war Fordism was coming to an end. As workers began to rebel, demanding an increasing share of profits after two decades of uninterrupted growth and full employment, customers were also becoming more difficult. Throughout the West, markets for mass-produced, standardized consumer durables were showing signs of saturation. Basic needs had by and large been covered; if the washing machine was still washing, why buy a new one? Replacement purchases, however, could not sustain comparable rates of growth. The emerging crisis manifested itself most visibly among the prototypical mass producers of the Fordist age, the automobile industry, whose manufacturing capacity had grown inordinately, but which now found itself squeezed between increasing worker resistance to its Taylorist factory regime and growing consumer indifference to its mass-market product regime. [...]

the solution came in the form of customised production

—p.97 by Wolfgang Streeck 4 years, 9 months ago