Mass manufacturing, sequential assembly along a production line, and application of scientific time-management principles (Taylorism) were important organizational innovations introduced by Henry Ford for the production of the Model T.

Increased productivity allowed for higher wages, shorter work hours, and lower prices. Wages increased threefold, workdays were reduced from 10 to 8 hours, and a Model T that sold for US $850 in 1908 cost US $290 in 1926. (Price declines in real terms, i.e., after correcting for inflation, were even more substantial.)

This pattern of cost reductions with stepped-up (accumulated) production volumes is frequently referred to as "learning" or "experience" curve a good example of a positive feedback loop or of so-called "increasing returns". Higher wages and lower costs provide another example of   a positive feedback: automobile (like other factory) workers could become car owners too, thus further enlarging the potential market for automobiles. Mass production and mass consumption thus go hand in hand, as do their negative impacts: increased work monotony and time pressure at the assembly line; increased congestion, and emissions from denser car traffic on the road.  

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Last edited: 22 July 2013

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