A new history charts the global legacy of Fordist mass production, tracing its appeal to political formations on both the left and the right

Justin H. Vassallo in the Boston Review:

The utopian ideal of globalization has imploded over the past decade. Rising demand in Western countries for greater state control over the economy reflects a range of grievances, from a chronic shortage of well-compensated work to a sense of national decline. In the United States, the dearth of domestic supply chains exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened alarm over the acute infrastructural weaknesses decades of outsourced production have created. Post-industrial society, rather than an advanced stage of shared affluence, is not only more unequal but fundamentally insecure. Rich but increasingly oligarchic countries are experiencing what we might call, following scholars of democratization, a dramatic “de-consolidation” of development.

To reverse this decline, political forces on both the left and the right are converging on the imperative to use industrial policy—the strategic process by which governments, either through state support of industrialists or state-owned enterprises, build up and diversify domestic manufacturing.

More here.