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Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the…
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Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (original: 2018; edição: 2018)

de Joshua Benjamin Freeman (Autor)

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1457144,484 (3.74)4
Factories, with their ingenious machinery and miraculous productivity, are celebrated as modern wonders of the world. Yet from William Blake's "dark Satanic mills" they have also fueled our fears of the future. Telling the story of the factory, Joshua B. Freeman takes readers from the textile mills in England that powered the Industrial Revolution to the steel and car plants of twentieth-century America, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, to today's behemoths making trainers, toys and iPhones in China and Vietnam. He traces arguments about factories and social progress through such critics and champions as Marx, Ford and Stalin. And he explores the representation of factories in the work of Margaret Bourke-White, Charlie Chaplin and Diego Rivera.… (mais)
Membro:sdepangher
Título:Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World
Autores:Joshua Benjamin Freeman (Autor)
Informação:W. W. Norton & Company (2018), Edition: 1, 440 pages
Coleções:Pre-Modern/Modern History, Sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Behemoth: a history of the factory and the making of the modern world de Joshua Benjamin Freeman (2018)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
To much history and too little (next to none) of technology, psychology or sociology. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
The mark of a good non-fiction book for me is not only how in depth the author goes into a topic, or how informative, but whether I learned something new. With Behemoth, Joshua Freeman dives into the history of the modern factory, from its earliest days in the cotton and silk mills of England to today’s massive city-sized factories that churn out cell phones, shoes, and everything else we consume in the 21st Century. Freeman takes us on a tour that not only looks at the development of the factory and how it reshaped manufacturing, but how the factory sparked social change. The factory ushered in great innovations for providing the goods people needed, it also gave rise to the middle class while at the same time shining a spotlight on the disparities between the workers and the owners. Freeman does a great job of showing these differences and how social change grew out of the mechanized changes to make factories bigger and more efficient.

I recommend Behemoth for anybody interested in not only history, but who have an interest in how our modern world – from the stuff we make and buy, to how our society developed – came about. ( )
  GeoffHabiger | Sep 26, 2019 |
The particular value of this book is the way that Freeman weaves together some bodies of knowledge that are usually not combined in terms of looking at labor history, business, history of technology and the aesthetics of modernity. As to why there should have been giant factories in the first place much of this seems to boil down to a question of maximizing the limited number of sites that provided sufficient water power and to protect intellectual property, but it soon dawned on factory owners that these installations could provide them physical security and social control over their workforce. At the very start Freeman takes some pains to remind his readers of what an authoritarian society Great Britain was well into the nineteenth century and the factory as an authoritarian environment of social control probably is the greatest theme of the book.

Moving there from the rise of the machine as a symbol of man’s Promethean ambitions (there is an extensive examination of the great industrial exhibitions of the nineteenth century), through the heyday of Henry Ford as a symbol of achievement and into the Stalinist celebration of the giant factory as an exemplar of civilizational accomplishment, Freeman winds up with a consideration of what the giant factory means today. The short answer would seem to be not as much as one might think.

In considering the great consumer production centers of China as models of Third World industrialization, Freeman observes that there is little of the triumphalist image that previous expressions of the giant factory generated. These black boxes (investigative access is very limited) for grinding out cheap consumer goods are recognized as being no longer the commanding heights of national expression and power and are merely way stations on the way to whatever post-industrial society looks like.

As for what that future might be Freeman notes that the triumph of the great factory systems were based on the extensive use of resources (particularly of the human variety), which no longer seems viable. On the other hand, the continuing lesson of the rise of the great industrial systems is that they demonstrated that the world could be remade in a new image and if this could be done once it can be done again. ( )
  Shrike58 | Aug 1, 2019 |
What's really fascinating about this book is how the great factories of the Soviet system relied upon and emulated the factory system created in the west. They had one enormous advantage, however, in that each had a more dedicated workforce, i.e., one supposedly more friendly to the economic system, not to mention a sophisticated system of spies to weed out malcontents. The unions were devoted to the system as well if not arms of the government. Soviet masters even went so far as to copy and employ the designs of Ford's assembly lines, Stalin and his minions believing that industrialization was a tool of class warfare. Were Soviet factories during the thirties any different than their western counterparts in terms of organization and hierarchies. Not much suggests Freeman, except for Soviet use of forced labor and periodic purges of upper management. Both systems bred hierarchical management and conflict-ridden.

The great textile mills of the northeastern U.S. had some environmental advantages over their counter-parts elsewhere. They were mostly powered by water and often entire towns sprang up around the mills with garden lined streets and housing for the workers.*

To some extent it was the rise of unions in the west that spelled doom for the behemoth factory. Owners were anxious to defuse the power of unions and so decentralized the manufacturing process to a point where now only 8% of U.S. labor is employed in a factory of which Trump speaks so nostalgically and erroneously. By the early fifties the age of industrial gigantism was over in the U.S. but continued apace in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with the rise of industrial communities like Stalinstadt (now Eisenhuttenstadt - a town I would like to visit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuQpRna3suc) and Nowa Huta in Poland as late as the late seventies.

Freeman suggests that the days of the gigantic factory may be over even as he examines the huge factories of Foxconn in China that produce so much of Apple and other computer manufacturers' products. At its peak Foxconn employed an amazing 300,000 workers (though hardly sweatshops as they have nice facilities, dormitories, swimming pools, and cafeterias,) but the trend is now for robots to take over such jobs. Robots don't need sleep, nor food, nor amenities of any kind and happily work steadily 24/7.

* See Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-City by Tamara Hareven for a detailed examination of one textile manufacturing city-factory. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 26, 2018 |
It isn't light reading, that's for sure, but this documented mass of information was presented in an interesting format that kept me awake the whole time. The few photographs speckled throughout add to the depth. It's amazing to observe how much has happened in the world around us and how much we have impacted it. ** DISCLAIMER: I won an Advance Readers Copy in a GOODREADS giveaway sponsored by WWNorton. ( )
  tenamouse67 | Jul 22, 2018 |
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"Freeman tells us who both the makers and the corporate owners are, and, more impressively, he shows us how, over a relatively short period of time, their stories come to be entangled. He wants us to leave his book grappling with the question: How should human beings balance economic good with environmental harm, need with greed?"
adicionado por shervinafshar | editarNew York Times, Beth Macy (Mar 9, 2018)
 
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Factories, with their ingenious machinery and miraculous productivity, are celebrated as modern wonders of the world. Yet from William Blake's "dark Satanic mills" they have also fueled our fears of the future. Telling the story of the factory, Joshua B. Freeman takes readers from the textile mills in England that powered the Industrial Revolution to the steel and car plants of twentieth-century America, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, to today's behemoths making trainers, toys and iPhones in China and Vietnam. He traces arguments about factories and social progress through such critics and champions as Marx, Ford and Stalin. And he explores the representation of factories in the work of Margaret Bourke-White, Charlie Chaplin and Diego Rivera.

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