Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Science and Technology Studies


Post-Fordism suggests the world's economic travails are the birth-pangs of a new, post- Fordist industrial system, with implications for national industrial adjustment. The thesis is a study of post Fordism and the course of the recent industrial policy debate in Australia. It is also a critique of post-Fordism (and its sister doctrine 'flexible specialisation'), as an analysis of events in the world economy, and as a model of industrial development. The thesis focuses on the role and fate of the labour movement, in the recent industrial policy debate, for two reasons. First, the labour movement drove the debate over industry policy in the early 1980s, and second, post- Fordism offers misleading prescriptions for the role the labour movement should play in industrial adjustment.

Part one is devoted to exposition and critique of post-Fordism; part two surveys some of the literature on industry development and work organisation, with the question of the roles of the state and the labour movement in mind; part three is devoted to the debates in Australia around industry policy and post-Fordism. The thesis argues that post-Fordism is a flawed account of recent industrial change, and a poor guide to labour movement strategy. It suggests that the union movement's flirtation with enterprise ...i gaining and certain hostile forms of work organisation is, in some measure, due to strategic miscalculations deriving from the influence of post-Fordism.

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