Henry Ford's Automobile And It's Effects On American Culture Essay

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Henry Ford’s Automobile & It’s Effects on American Society

Over the course of the 20th century, the automobile has gone from being an expensive toy of the rich, to being the standard for passenger transport in most developed countries around the world (Urry). Not unlike the effects of the introduction of Railways into society, automobiles have changed social interactions, employment patterns, goods distribution and the basic face of urban society. The automobile itself is a rather controversial issue. Supporters of the automobile claim that it is a “marvel of technology” that has brought about prosperity, while opponents aver it leads to urban planning that discourages walking and human interaction, uses non-renewable fuels, generates
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Ford believed that by paying people more, he would enable Ford employees to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy. This new wage plan was offered to men over the age of 22 who had worked for Ford for at least 6 months, and whose lifestyles were approved by Ford’s Sociological Department (150 investigators and support staff who maintained “employee standards”). Another defining characteristic of Ford Motor Company is Henry Ford’s adamant opposition to labor unions. Ford Motor Company was the last Detroit automobile company to sign a contract with the United Auto Workers union, having done so in June of 1941.
In more recent years, the Ford Motor Company has encountered some resistance from environmentalists. “Ford motor co. ranked 7th as one of the top corporate air polluters in the United States releasing 9.67 million pounds of toxic air in 2002” (PERI). In an attempt to appease the criticism received due to their environmental standing by announcing a plan in 2000 to improve the average gasoline mileage of a line of its trucks by twenty-five percent by 2005. This goal was never met; Ford announced that “competitive market conditions and technological and cost challenges would prevent the company from achieving this

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