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Contrast the Role of Labour as a Major Factor Influencing the Nature and Location of Industrial Activities in the Core and Peripheral Eu Regions Within a Fordist and Neo-Fordist Regime of Capital Accumulation.

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Essay title: Contrast the Role of Labour as a Major Factor Influencing the Nature and Location of Industrial Activities in the Core and Peripheral Eu Regions Within a Fordist and Neo-Fordist Regime of Capital Accumulation.

Contrast the role of labour as a major factor influencing the nature and location of industrial activities in the core and peripheral EU regions within a Fordist and Neo-Fordist regime of capital accumulation.

Labour has been a critical, defining influence on the development and spatial geography of Europe in the modern age. I will demonstrate this by defining and giving a brief history of Fordism and exploring the impact of labour on its nature, paying particular attention the development of the new industrial division of labour (NIDL) and the feminisation of the labour force.

Secondly, I will discuss industrial restructuring and the move from Fordism to Post-Fordism. I will then explore the nature of labour under Post-Fordist, the importance of flexibility, and the emergence of the highly skilled urban elites and cluster economies and their impact on the new geography of the EU.

Fordism (1900-1975) is an organisation of production, characteristic of multi-national corporations, which requires a vast number of de-skilled or semi-skilled workers to run mass production lines and operates on a �just-in-case’ principal of stock accumulation in relatively closed economies.

Fordist spatial divisions of labour emerged due to locational and functional separation of mental and manual labour (Perrons 1981) , The national spatial hierarchy was re-organised whereby a small pool of highly skilled, non-manual labour organised management and R&D from the core, basic manufacturing operations were carried out in the semi-periphery by skilled and semi skilled workers and mass production was moved to the periphery to be completed by large supplies of de-skilled, automatic assembly lines workers.

As a result of the spectacular rise in the demand for durable customer goods and construction industries and the development of the welfare state allowing everyone to consume, the post-war era (from 1950 to the mid 1970’s), sometimes called the �Golden age of Fordism’, saw levels of unprecedented fast economic growth, near full employment and regional convergence in Europe as a result of the spectacular rise in the demand for durable customer goods and construction industries and the development of the welfare state allowing everyone to consume. The economic climate in Europe began to change rapidly during the 1960’s to the 1980’s as a result of increased international competition from Japanese (with a new, highly-efficient “just-in-time” mode of production) and American firms, technological innovations, increasing cost of labour and decline in profits. To counter these difficulties, there was a systematic rationalisation of production, a heightened decentralisation of manufacturing from the core and semi-periphery to the periphery (to cheaper labour supplies) within Europe, along with fragmentation of firms’ activities and global relocation to peripheral Europe. Globalisation was a significant influence on the organisation of production and so too was the emergence of the EU as a supranational state and the process of Europeanization. This re-structuring could be observed on a macro level through out the world (particularly in South East Asia), but also within Europe, for example, the “hollowing out” of the former clothing industrial districts in North East England, retaining design, marketing and HQ functions while relocating routine production to the Southern Europe (Spain, Southern Italy) or Eastern Europe during the 70’s and 80’s.

This emerging �New International Division of labour’ (NIDL) was an economic re-structuring according to the needs and dictates of Trans-National Corporations (TNC’s). These firms obtained maximum benefits from differential supplies of resources throughout the world in the form of cheap labour (which was numerically and financially flexible), mineral wealth & good infrastructure and this had major implications for regional development.

A key aspect of the NIDL was the role female workers played in these TNC branch plants. The traditionally subordinate position of women in patriarchal rural areas or declining industrial areas in the periphery was easily exploited by the incoming firms. Employed mainly in textiles, clothing and the electronics industry, women (mostly young, single and uneducated) were specifically targeted as workers, despite simultaneous high employment among the male workforce. Certain characteristics attributed to these women (such as manual dexterity, a keen eye for detailed work, high boredom thresholds, docile behavioural traits and lower rates of pay) made them attractive for the unskilled, repetitive work in the TNC’s. Far from being an objective economic fact, skill is often an ideological category imposed on certain types of work by virtue of sex and the power of the workers

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"Contrast the Role of Labour as a Major Factor Influencing the Nature and Location of Industrial Activities in the Core and Peripheral Eu Regions Within a Fordist and Neo-Fordist Regime of Capital Accumulation.." EssaysForStudent.com. 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009. https://www.essaysforstudent.com/essays/Contrast-the-Role-of-Labour-as-a-Major/5209.html.