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Flexible Production

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Flexible production, also called post-Fordism, refers to the forms of manufacturing that began to take shape and eventually become dominant throughout the late 20th century. In contrast to Fordism, flexible production allows goods to be manufactured cheaply but in small volumes as well as large volumes. A flexible automation system can turn out a small batch, or even a single item, of a product as efficiently as it can a mass-assembled commodity.

Flexible production appeared, not accidentally, at the particular historical moment when the microelectronics revolution began to revolutionize manufacturing; indeed, the changes associated with the computerization of production in some respects may be seen as the response of capitalists to the crisis of profitability that accompanied the petro-crises. Flexible production also reflected the imperative ...

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