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Sat Jul 14, 2012, 05:34 AM

 

The truth about Henry Ford's "Five Dollar Day"

You often hear people talk about how Ford paid wages above prevailing wage because he knew "they couldn't buy his cars if he didn't pay them well," or something along those lines.

But:

The Five Dollar Day was divided into two parts: a worker’s wages (approximately $2.40 per day for an unskilled worker) and a worker’s profits (about $2.60 per day). All workers received their wages... They received their profits, however, only if they were “worthy,” or had the appropriate habits and life-style and lived in proper homes...The Sociological Department of the Ford Motor Company was organized in March, 1913...

His Sociological Department investigated the home lives of his immigrant workers to check whether they had adopted the desired American habits such as washing regularly and brushing their teeth, and to decide whether they were worthy of receiving the five-dollar daily wage which Ford offered in 1914. Moreover, all immigrant workers had to attend compulsory English classes, and at the end of each class a spectacular graduation ceremony illustrated their transformation in the mythic American ‘melting pot.’ Here is what the Ford Times of 1916 had to say about it:

The “Melting Pot” exercises were dramatic in the extreme: A deckhand came down the gang plank.... “What cargo?” was the hail he received. “About 230 hunkies,” he called back. “Send’em along and we’ll see what the melting pot will do for them,” said the other and from the ship came a line of immigrants, in the poor garments of their native lands. Into the gaping pot they went. Then six instructors of the Ford school, with long ladles, started stirring. “Stir! Stir!” urged the superintendent of the school. The six bent to greater efforts. From the pot fluttered a flag, held high, then the first of the finished product of the pot appeared, waving his hat.... Many others followed him, gathering in two groups on each side of the cauldron. In contrast to the shabby rags they wore when they were unloaded from the ship, all wore neat suits...And ask anyone of them what nationality he is, and the reply will come quickly, “American!”

vashonsd.org/teacherweb/zecher/files/Fordism.doc

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply The truth about Henry Ford's "Five Dollar Day" (Original post)
HiPointDem Jul 2012 OP
Yeah Its Spin Jul 2012 #1
HiPointDem Jul 2012 #4
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #2
Archae Jul 2012 #5
Yeah Its Spin Jul 2012 #3
FarCenter Jul 2012 #6

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 05:40 AM

1. you would think?

 

The truth about Henry Ford's "Five Dollar Day" would have more of a showing on the intertubes

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Response to Yeah Its Spin (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 06:00 AM

4. it has a showing primarily on academic sites, as business sites like the myth better than the real

 

history.

http://www.sunypress.edu/p-260-the-five-dollar-day.aspx

More than simply high-wage policy, the Five Dollar Day attempted to solve attitudinal and behavioral problems with an effort to change the worker’s domestic environment. Half of the five dollars represented “wages” and the other half was called “profits”—which the worker received only when he met specific standards of efficiency and home life that accorded with the ideal of an American way of life which the company felt was the basis for industrial efficiency.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 05:49 AM

2. Ford was also a raging anti-Semite, as most folks are no doubt aware.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 08:48 AM

5. Henry Ford was planning to run some stories on Jews in Hollywood.

Some Hollywood executives showed Henry safety films where all the cars were clearly Fords.

The anti-Jew campaign at the Independent vanished the next day.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 05:52 AM

3. I can google

 

yes of course, that is why it is on JSTOR

sorry meant to post to Warren DeMontague

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 10:20 AM

6. WASP propaganda and persecution of non-WASP ethnics was endemic during WW I.

For example, the churches were greatly encouraged to switch to English-language services, which my parents did.

Eventually Americans were persuaded to enter WW I on the side of the British Empire.

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