What I saw was a mixed bag. Inefficiency and bureaucratic bungling riding right alongside innovation and some of the brightest people in manufacturing.
From 'blame the supplier' no matter what to 'help us figure this out partner', it was always an interesting experience. I've been fussed at, cussed at and dressed down in front of over 100 people. I didn't take it personally. As some would say, "We're all on the same side here."
I've also been in several of the Japanese transplant factories. Yes, they were much more efficient, you could see it immediately as people moved at a faster pace on the line. The flip side was wearing out bodies through carpal tunnel and repetitive motion injuries.
One thing American and Japanese automotive manufacturers had in common was squeezing the suppliers. Cut costs or get lost. Mainly that meant getting parts from Taiwan or China.
The greatest manufacturing base in the world is now a shadow of what it was. Unions in the beginning may have been a blessing for the workers but became a curse. Executives made too much money and didn't fix the problems.
What now? The current Big 3 are too bloated to function and do we still need them? Bust the unions, downsize and bow to government and banker whims?
Bankers get the money but manufacturers and workers don't.
We've all noticed this disparity and it's not so great a secret why.
The ghost of Henry Ford may be influencing the money masters as they still remember his exposure of the banking elite and are afraid the remnants of his expressions may raise its head once again.
In 1903, Henry Ford and others organized the Ford Motor Company. Ford himself became the majority shareholder four years later and eventually sole owner of the company. Ford concentrated on perfecting a standard product, the Model T, and then upon developing production techniques that would allow him to produce a large number of automobiles at a steadily decreasing per-unit cost. That, in turn, allowed the Ford Motor Company to offer its product at a price that many Americans would afford. Sales of Ford products soared, creating a demand for even more production and the greater cost efficiencies that Ford’s automobile assembly lines could provide.
If that were not enough, Henry Ford also set his eyes upon growing the consumer market. In 1914, the Ford Motor Company began paying its employees a minimum $5-per-day wage, capping daily work hours at eight. Ford did this not in response to union or competitive pressures but, he said, because he wanted workers to be able to afford the products they made. He also unilaterally reduced daily and weekly work hours because he wanted workers to have enough time to make full use of the products that they made. This was a revolutionary vision which, more than any other, was responsible for creating the U.S. consumer mass market.Why is it, then, that Americans seem to have forgotten the positive side of Henry Ford and instead tend to think of him as a thuggish character? One reason is that in the early 1920s the Ford Motor Company published a newspaper called the “Dearborn Independence” which discussed Jewish control of international banking and related subjects. This newspaper also reprinted the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” A Jewish friend complained to Henry Ford that this newspaper was harming Jews in Europe and, upon receiving proof, Ford suspended publication. But the fact that Ford had lent his support to such views has been enough to brand him as a hard-core anti-Semite.
The International Jew
— The World’s Foremost Problem
By Henry Ford
Somebody once said that sixty families have directed the destinies of the nation. It might well be said that if somebody would focus the spotlight on twenty-five persons who handle the nation's finances, the world's real warmakers would be brought into bold relief.
The Times reporter asked Ford how he equated this assessment with his long-standing criticism of the House of Morgan, to which Ford replied:
There is a constructive and a destructive Wall Street. The House of Morgan represents the constructive. I have known Mr. Morgan for many years. He backed and supported Thomas Edison, who was also my good friend ....
After expounding on the evils of limited agricultural production — allegedly brought about by Wall Street — Ford continued,
... if these financiers had their way we'd be in a war now. They want war because they make money out of such conflict — out of the human misery that wars bring.
On the other hand, when we probe behind these public statements we find that Henry Ford and son Edsel Ford have been in the forefront of American businessmen who try to walk both sides of every ideological fence in search of profit.
Introduction by Gerald L. K. Smith [originally included with the abridged edition]
Elizabeth Dilling [extract from a text re. the provenance of the "Protocols"]
The Wisdom of Henry Ford [link to National Alliance overview]