Week 7 Privatizing Poland chapters 1-3

We have spent much time distinguishing between socialism, capitalism, and communism and the events in between that have changed history. In this case, baby food is the focus of this immense change which is seen through the stages of socialism and post-socialism. There are major concepts that have helped alter the way daily life is run, including the production of baby food. Dunn introduces the terms Fordism and Taylorism to explain the shift in baby food from the production line to the people making and buying that product. I liked how this book started out by stressing how important people were to the Gerber company. They based their products around the people they are selling it to as well as took into account who was behind the scenes. In terms of Taylorism and Fordism, I think they go hand in hand and it is hard to talk about one concept without the other. Times were changing and labor disciplines were a huge topic come post-socialism. In socialism, production was what made the world go round. Post-socialism, there was a switch to consumption being the most important element in the market. The customer was key to production and the transition from quantity to quality emerged. Fordism’s assembly line was a socialism phenomenon because quantity was a necessity and this process created more products in a shorter amount of time. Taylorism added to this fast production by having specialist focus on one part of the assembly line so that things could be run even faster. When the shift to capitalism and the customer came around, “flexible production” was a hard transition because organization was instilled in companies along with focusing on employees not being machines but real people (Dunn 2004:19-20). From machines and quantity to employees and quality, the production of baby food increased and there were more happy customers!

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One Response to Week 7 Privatizing Poland chapters 1-3

  1. ecs013 says:

    I really thought this post did a good job in ‘breaking down’ the information presented by Dunn—specifically, in reference to the quote “…have helped alter the way daily life is run.” I think this is an important aspect that is given the attention it deserves; the author highlights and reiterates the significance of change in this society by referencing its day-to-day effects. Moreover, the implication of day-to-day insinuates a transition experienced by these markets and economies—a transition in the way their commonplace routine was permanently altered.

    Additionally, the conversational writing style makes the material (and arguments) approachable—particularly, the dichotomy noted between socialism and post-socialism. We see clearly the [arguably faulty] emphasis on production in socialism and thus, the increased participation on the part of consumption in a post-socialist market. Consequently, we witness the rise of customer influence on quantity and quality—which the author describes and attributes to the concepts of Fordism and Taylorism.