At this point, Brazil’s taxation of Fordlandia became a really large problem,
one that Dearborn saw necessary to fix immediately, and to do this they sent
William Cowling to deal with the problem. Cowling would only act on the offense
trying to pursue the taxes being dropped to the local government, but with the
federal government he attempted to befriend the officials in hope that they
would skew legislation for Fordlandia benefit. At Fordlandia itself, Oxholm,
who was no in charge, didn’t help the plantation that much. Fordlandia was
supposed to make its money back on lumber alone, but the very diverse lumber
they harvested was too hard/soft for the mill on the plantation, so they
resorted to buying wood from locals for the use in building facilities. Almost
every of Oxholm’s children died while they were in Brazil, so a few months
after he arrived, he went back to Detroit. Fordlandia actually got lucky, with
a new governor being elected that supported Ford’s mission.
This chapter goes into various men that Ford recruits from his own Detroit
factories to go to Brazil. One of his first recruits was Victor Perini, a man
who grew from the bottom of the industrial totem pole, to nearly the top, even
running the biggest of Fords factories. Perini, and his whole family, which
ford insisted on, picked up and moved to Fordlandia. Before Cowling had left
Fordlandia he gave a speech to the workers about working hard, and they definitely
listened, this was seen as Perini arrived, with Achilaus Weeks now mostly in
charge. Pipes are various other common public works systems were being built
into the town. Perini was put in charge, but Oxholm didn’t actually leave the plantation
and still ruled over some of the employees. Other Americans were sent to the
Amazon, many of them weren’t fond of their new stationing, and went home.
Again, this chapter highlights on a man vs. environment issue. Oxholm, who was
trying to meet the one year one thousand acres of planted rubber clause, planted
rubber during the dry season. This caused all of the rubber to grow in very
thin, unhealthy ways, and when Perini arrived he decided to plow over the first
plant and replant the rubber. This means that the planation would have to wait
another 5 years before any rubber could be harvested.
Continually Ford executives try to enforce prohibition throughout the plantation,
but this is in complete dissatisfaction for the locals. It is a part of typical
culture for Brazilians to drink as they please, so it is very difficult for
them to quit because someone else tells them that they need to.
New technologies led to social transformations that improved the standard of
living for many (Key Concept 7.1 I.)
Electricity and plumbing was revolution for these rural Brazilian towns, they
had never seen anything like this. With new facilities being built after Oxholm’s
reign, the standard of living in this area is greatly increased. No longer do
they just live under the trees, but they might live in a wood build house with
a proper roof and electricity.