Americanization And Its Limits Essay

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Americanization and its Limits: Theory and Practice in the Reconstruction of Britain's Engineering Industries, 1945-55 Jonathan Zeitlin Universityof Wisconsin-Madison A central problem confronting WestEuropean all economies afterWorld War I! was that of Americanization.How far shouldEuropean industrybe reconstructed the imageof the United States, in unquestionably dominant the economic militarypowerof thepostwar and world? To contemporaries both on sides theAtlantic, of Americanization industry of meant above mass all production -- the high-volume manufacture standardized of goodsusingspecial-purpose machineryand predominately unskilledlabor -- togetherwith the host of "systematic" management techniques developed its efficientadministration. for Beyondthe intrinsic appealof suchmethods Europeans to aspiring emulate to Americanproductivity abundance, and moreover, policy makersactively US sought promote to theirdiffusion through technical the assistance programs and investment funds associated with the Marshall Plan. Much of the recentliterature postwar on Americanization tended has to assume withoutmuchsupporting evidence thisprocess that proceeded relatively smoothly and rapidly, at least in its narrowly economicand technological dimensions. The realbarriers Americanization, thisview, lay ratherin the to on social,cultural, politicalspheres, and whereEuropean elitesandpopular classes eachproved reluctant, varyingdegrees for different to and reasons, embrace to transatlantic models labor-management of relations, welfareprovision, mass and consumption. Western Europe,as oneinfluential formulation putsit, was only "half-Americanized" duringthe postwar period[18, p. 436]; but the design and manufacture industrial of products suchaccounts squarely in is

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