The $5 Wage and Henry Ford's Secret Police

“Then — after he’d rocketed up his profitability, and because he needed to attract many more workers — he famously increased his daily wage rate from $2.34 to $5. That was a 114% raise in the wage he paid … after an 800% increase in worker productivity. (How generous!) Then he used the $5 wage as a viscous competitive weapon, to steal the best workers from competitors and other busineses everywhere while firing masses of his own workers. Then he subjected his own new work force to Ford Inc.’s infamous “Sociological Department”, an internal secret police force that he created to scrutinize and spy on every aspect their lives. Not just their work records — efficiency, attendance, attitude towards unions, etc. — but everything, religion, family, personal behavior, the works. Anyone who didn’t pass muster was summarily fired. The $5 wage is what let him keep that iron grip on every aspect of his workers lives. They couldn’t get that pay anywhere else so they endured. For a while, until GM and others matched the assembly line. Then Ford near destroyed his own company with his viscous union-busting and attempts to keep his workers down (see: Battle of the Overpass ), blew his huge market share, and handed the industry to GM. And … from this we now get the story of the $5 wage as “Fordism”, Henry generously doubling his workers’ wages so they could afford to buy the cars they made for him. And others following his precedent being the key to American economic success back in those good old days. LOL! 🙂 My gosh, people will believe anything. But this doesn’t even pass the Urban Legend test of at least seeming plausible. Look at the arthmetic: When workers spend maybe 10% of their pay on car-buying how the heck could Henry have made money by increasing their pay so they could buy his cars??? That 10% of what he paid would have had to cover more than 100% of what he paid! And people believe this nonsense??? Henry Ford was the worst union-busting, labor-exploiting SOB of his generation in the entire auto industry, by far. Maybe the worst in all industry. He nearly destroyed his own company with his obsessive, brutal attempts to keep labor down. But now he’s a hero to the left! “Fordism” made America great. If only labor could get Henry back! 🙂 Anybody who cites this tripe of “Fordism” as generosity to labor, “named after Henry Ford”, that was the key to, well, anything good, disqualifies himself from being taken seriously. Period. So much for this being a “definitive piece” on anything. The real lesson about workers wages from Henry Ford: You want higher wages for workers? Increase their productivity. Then even if their boss is a labor-exploiting SOB like Henry Ford, they’ll get higher wages.”





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