Friday, February 27, 2015

Chapter 6 and 7 (pg 86-119)

Chapter 6:
This chapter goes into the various inquiries that Ford makes about the Amazon. After visiting with Villares, Ford sends LaRue to the amazon to investigate the various forrest that for may buy. They talk about how the deal might be corrupt because LaRue's possible association with Villares. The land that is described is a vast forrest but it also has a very good environment for cultivating rubber and latex. But most importantly for fords perspective, the citizens of the local area are being held down by the landlords who indent them like in the sharecropping reconstructionist south.
Chapter 7:
Next, Ford sends Ide and Bennet to the Amazon to acquire about the property and establish a Ford office there. The book talks about Henry's, Edsel's, and Bennet's, relationship. Henry is very critical of his son Edsel and this carries onto bennet and Edsel's relationship. The son is often "bullied by the older two who constantly let him carry out task but completely destroy them when he completes them.

Both of these chapters are rather bogged down with detailed bits of small meaningless conversations.

ENV: This section goes into details about the environment of the Amazon. The specific area that is being looked into has already grown trees that yield the precious latex that Ford wants. The amazon is talked of as the biggest river system in the world, and it takes Ide and Bennet days on boat to get up just one of the various tributaries.

Course Outline:
Corruption in government - especial as it related to big business. (Concept 6.3 I. A.)
This is evident in this section because of Bennet and others various ties to Villares. In early chapters in talks of how Villares is trying to pay off people so he can stand to make a higher profit if Ford buys the land that he is offering.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chapters 3-5 (pg 43-85)

1. Description

Chapter 3:

          This chapter focuses on how Henry Ford whole heatedly hates war. Many at the time even call him a pacifist. On the brink of World War I, Ford is trying to stop the United States from joining the war by any means possible, he takes this up as his devotion during the time period. His direct enemy during the time period was Theodore Roosevelt. The two would continuously go back and forth over how Ford disliked war and that Roosevelt was trying to start a war. Ford believed that industry could end all wars, he believed that if everyone worked for an industrial factory, that they would have something to do and wouldn’t be inclined to go to war. Ford was also an advocate for desecrating all federal borders, he thought that with the help of industrialism, national borders could dissolve and intern, war would seize.

Chapter 4:

          The chapter begins with Ford fighting various public opinions that he couldn't read. This was often the public opinion, but he didn't do anything to diminish it. Behind closed doors he enjoyed reading Emerson, because he believed that nature when intertwined with industry is taking full advantage of nature’s beauty. Ford also advocated for a “one foot in agriculture, one foot in industry,” policy. He believed that people had a downtime season whether in industry or agriculture, and during that time they should do the other profession. In an area called the Upper Peninsula which is in upstate Michigan near the great lakes, Ford purchased a huge tract of land that would be almost the size of his future Amazonian venture. In this area, he created various lumber towns that would also be able to practice agriculture. This idea is one that eventually dwarfs into his Fordlandia in Brazil. Earlier in the book it talks of how Ford pays $5 a day, but with that he enforces very strict rules. Now, this has become even worse, he has a team of men that are in the factories who scare workers into working faster and faster and to help cut down production times. Families and observers think this is quite harsh and equates to a form of slavery through industry.

Chapter 5:

          This chapter goes into the beginnings of Ford actually acquiring Fordlandia. A man named De Lima, is one of the people who are openly talking ford into purchasing the land, by telling him about the riches of rubber that ford could harvest there. But more importantly are the people who are working to get Ford to purchase the lot behind the scenes. Villares, who was a wealthy man in Brazil, did a lot of the behind the scene work. He secured rights form the Brazilian government to actually sell the land to Ford, but while doing this there was a lot of bribery going on because Villares could make a lot of money. Villares had paid off a couple of Ford’s men so that they would support the purchase, and eventually Villares went and talked to ford himself in Detroit offering up the land. 

2. Themes


Chapter 3 has a deep connection with the entire world. One of the main issues in the chapter is how the US will, or won’t join in on the World War that was plaguing Europe. The chapter talks of how Ford tried to send a ship to Europe to have a diplomatic peace, but that failed miserably. When US actually entered the war, even Ford converted some of his factories to aid in the war effort.


One of the things Ford tries to do, is integrate the future, industry, with the past, agriculture. He thinks that if these two mix then there will be a perfect world. Ford also hates the cow, reasons for this aren’t discussed but he thinks there are too many useless by products. Soybeans are what Ford thinks can be the savior of the world, ford comes up and uses various different soy foods and oils ranging from milk to car lubricants. The other very important thing that Ford tries to do is use everything from his lumber mills. He wants to get the most out of the environment and uses all of the scraps and some even end up in charcoal as the now biggest charcoal company.

3. Outline

Businesses and foreign policymakers increasingly looked outside U.S. borders in effort to gain greater influence and control over markets and nature resources in the Pacific, Asia, and Latin America. (Key Concept 6.1 1 B.)

Ford does the initially with expanding his car production into various Latin America countries. During WWI he can’t expand into Europe because it’s too difficult for the business, but in this time he built and sells cars within Latin America and eventually becomes the largest car company in the region controlling more than 60% of the sector. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Introduction and Chapter 1-2 (pg 1-42)

1. Description 

The Introduction.

Fordlandia was the brain child of Henry Ford, and the book begins in 1928 at Ford's unveiling of his second car, the Model A, with Thomas Edison and Ford's son, Edsel, is at his side. While the media focuses on the car, Ford is more concerned with his new project, Fordlandia. But why create this new city in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon nearly 18 hours from the nearest city? The book outlines that there’s a European monopoly on rubber and latex that is mostly focused in Asia, and US businesses, specifically Ford and Harvey Firestone, are concerned of a spike in latex prices, that are so crucial to tire production within the United States. The introduction also talks of how there’s a mystery that surrounds the Amazon. At many times there have been people who go into the rainforest and either don’t come back out or they don’t come back the same person. This is an influential idea within the Brazilian culture, but Ford completely ignores this in hopes of establishing his community. Included, is Greg Grandin’s personal account of traveling to where Fordlandia once was, and seeing how no matter how much Ford tried, the city failed. He talks of how Ford no only wanted to prefect the production of rubber, but he wanted to prefect the city, he wanted a better society that he could not achieve in the United States. This part of the book is slightly confusing as it jumps around between mental theories of people’s perceptions and actual events. It also jumps between Grandin’s present explorations and what was going on back in 1928, and even before then.

Chapter 1.

          The year is 1925, Firestone is all about combating the European rubber issue that is being perpetuated by Winston Churchill, who’s trying to limit the production of rubber which would cause the price to rapidly rise. Herbert Hoover, who was secretary of state at the time, even helped fund explorations into rubber production into Latin America, a place that would eventually be looked at by Ford, and become the home of Fordlandia. Ford tasked his secretary Liebold with finding a good place for rubber production and came back with the southern Amazon. This had once been home to bustling rubber cities which had a monopoly on rubber tapping because of huge rubber trees, but a British imperialist took seeds and transported them to the Asian countries where monopolies now exist. The original trappers of the Amazon were in dept to the people they sold their rubber to and in all it was a very imperial system in which few lords held huge amounts of wealth.

Chapter 2.

          This chapter goes back in time to talk of how Ford originally got its success, with Henry Ford putting together existing manufacturing techniques which intern perfected it. Ford was able to churn cars out but had a problem with the employees and eventually began to pay five dollars a day, way more than other companies in the time, but this came with a stipulation. Ford wasn't just a capitalist, he wanted to perfect society, and because of that he had his “sociological department,” follow around his employees and make sure they were living good lives and not wasting it away. It also goes into how Ford was not only an entrepreneur at the time, but his ideas turned him into a philosopher of sorts. His philosophies often changed, and they contradicted themselves, but at the same time he became one of the most respected men in the United States.

2. Themes


In this section, it’s all centered on the necessities of the industrial revolution. Without Ford’s invention of the mass produced and affordable car, then there would never be any need for Fordlandia and its rubber production. On the world context, the exchange of rubber between the European imperialists and the US economy is a pressing issue, as the drastic increase in price even looms the idea of war because of the economic issues.


The controversy over Churchill’s rubber policies is a political issue as it could cause hostility between the US and Britain. The US can control imports like oil because of the close proximity of their existence to the United States, but rubber is completely out of the US’s hands. Many companies such as Goodyear, don’t try to find new sources, because their politically associated with Britain and don’t want to get on their bad side.


Rubber trees/vines need a specific environment to grow, and originally only exist within the Amazon rainforest, but it takes the export of these seeds to Asian counties to change the world monopoly a distribution of wealth based on the trade of rubber. The problem with the rainforest is that it has a large amount of insects and animals that will disturb rubber production if it is all centered on large plantations. The section also talks of how Grandin returns to Fordlandia and he can see all of the remnants, as the one large water tower still looms over the desolate city below. In this case, the environment has triumphed over humans.


In the introduction specifically, it is talked of the mystery that surrounds the Amazon. Many of the locals are concerned with the forest and all that it has power over, whether real or not in the eyes of Ford.

3. Outline

Large corporations came to dominate the U.S. economy as it increasingly focused on the production of consumer goods, driven by new technologies and manufacturing techniques. (Key Concept 7.1 1A.)

Ford’s society is the first of a major industrial society. He has perfected manufacturing techniques to mass produce his cars, all he needs is an efficient source of raw materials that he hopes to industrialize.