Flexible Accumulation

Capital was beginning to circulate across national boundaries at an increasing rate in capitalist countries around the 1970s. Under Fordism, this capital had stayed mainly within the borders of one domestic economy. Not only capital, but also goods were being shipped across borders. “Increasingly, corporations shipped semi finished goods to production plants in different countries and sent finished goods to be sold in foreign markets” (Dunn, 18). This was the shift being made from Fordism to flexible accumulation. Whether it is called globalization, post-Fordism, disorganized capitalism, or flexible accumulation it refers to the shift that both intensified the capitalist processes and opened new spaces to the penetration of capital (Dunn, 19). Many believe this shift came about due to the rigidity of the Fordist system. Under the new system, “the organization is a fleeting, fluid network of alliances, a highly decoupled and dynamic form with great organizational flexibility” [Dunn, 19 (Martin 1994, 208)]. The big organizational changes that resulted from the shift included product differentiation, audit based quality controlled systems, geographically dispersed independent suppliers, and changes in labor discipline. “Through the application of ‘flexible’ management, including the practice of making employees into part-owners of the firm, post-socialist reformers tried to introduce the notion of economic risk into a society that had not known it for more than forty years” (Dunn, 22).

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