Fordist but not post Fordist technol ogy We should be more cautious about

Fordist but not post fordist technol ogy we should be

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Fordist (but not post-Fordist) technol- ogy. We should be more cautious about identifying the Socialist Car as the quint- essential manufactured object of real existing socialism for the simple reason that with the possible exception of nondescript ferroconcrete apartment blocks, the Eastern Bloc probably did not have a quintessential manufactured object. 37 Urry's second component-"the major item of individual consumption after housing which provides status ... and preoccupies criminal justice systems" -seems ap- posite, although given the generally lower rates of car ownership, criminal justice systems in the East did not preoccupy themselves with traffic violations. The link- ages with other industries, services, design and planning operations, and "various oil-rich nations"-Urry's third component--obviously were weaker, though as Le Normand, Beyer, Meier, and Rubin emphasize, integrated urban (and suburban) planning did take the Socialist Car very seriously, and unlike in the West, oil con- tinued to flow. Indeed, the discovery of new reserves in the Soviet interior and oil's export to the West were what made the Lada possible. Still, unlike cars in the
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INTRODUCTION 1;:s West, the Socialist Car failed to generate a viable infrastructure around it; planned economies simply could not cope with all the details of such a highly sophisticated system. The fourth component-"quasi-private mobility"-is the only one of the six that probably should be weighted more strongly in the Eastern Bloc by virtue of the relative scarcity of other private or quasi-private venues. In fact, in addition to Moser's point that we need to view "usage" in a wider perspective, it should be acknowledged that the principal thing that is consumed in connection with cars is precisely this quasi-private mobility, and in the case of the Socialist Car that dimension loomed very large. The last two components-the cultural and envi- ronmental consequences of car use-though less extensive than in some Western countries, replicated Western patterns quite closely and, in the case of "major dis- courses of what constitutes the good life;' obviously internalized them. 38 The Eastern Bloc's version of automobility both replicated and departed from Western standards. So too did the car cultures and the "vernacular, generic mo- torscapes [that] stitch the local and the national together through their serial reproduction across space:' 39 Refraining from wearing seat belts in order not to offend the driver (or if you were the driver, not wanting to appear unmanly); ex- pecting to settle with the traffic police if stopped rather than going through com- plicated formal procedures; adorning one's car with bunting, dolls, or some other good-luck charm on the occasion of a wedding; removing windshield wipers after parking; being prepared to maintain one's own car; and a host of other practices comprised the cultures. The motorscapes ranged from isolated and dangerous to crowded and dangerous. In these respects, the world inhabited by the Socialist Car
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