Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Edited by Kees van der Pijl

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of the changing world of global production. Chapters cover the geography of why and where jobs are moving in both manufacturing and services. The authors discuss topics relating to the human and natural basis on which production rests, from the consequences of exploitation and marginalization on body and mind, to sex work, biotechnology, and the prospects for ecological re-balancing. This Handbook will appeal to academics at all levels interested in political economy, international studies and politics, as well as trade unionists and NGO activists.
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Chapter 23: Automobility: culture, (re-)production and sustainability

Matthew Paterson


The production, consumption, regulation and cultural valorization of automobiles have been central to the reproduction of capitalist development since at least the 1930s. This chapter elaborates what we can learn from focusing on the automobile – as one particular technology, a culture, a production regime, and a social institution of twentieth-century capitalism. It has been central also to the regime of accumulation known often simply as Fordism (cf. Desai, this volume); it has been a crucial component of the transnationalization of production; and finally, it has been a critical site for the unfolding of various contradictions within Fordism and in ongoing attempts to stabilize (or undermine) capitalism. At the same time, the regime of accumulation centred on automobility has engendered very particular and highly destructive socio-ecological impacts.

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