By Greg Grandin
In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest guy on the planet, received a tract of land two times the scale of Delaware within the Brazilian Amazon. His goal was once to develop rubber, however the undertaking speedily advanced right into a extra bold bid to export the US itself.
Fordlandia, because the cost used to be called, soon turned the positioning of an epic conflict. On one part used to be the tilt, austere motor vehicle tycoon; at the different, the Amazon, the main advanced ecological method in the world. Indigenous staff rejected Ford's midwestern Puritanism, turning where right into a ribald tropical boomtown. And his efforts to use a approach of regimented mass construction to the Amazon's variety led to a rash environmental attack that foreshadowed the various threats laying waste to the rain woodland at the present time.
More than a parable of 1 man’s boastful try and strength his will at the wildlife, Greg Grandin's Fordlandia is "a quintessentially American fable" (Time).
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Extra info for Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
Ford’s frustrations with domestic politics and culture were legion: war, unions, Wall Street, energy monopolies, Jews, modern dance, cow’s milk, the Roosevelts, cigarettes, alcohol, and creeping government intervention. Yet churning beneath all these annoyances was the fact that the force of industrial capitalism he helped unleash was undermining the world he hoped to restore. FORDLANDIA’S LESSON WOULD seem to be particularly resonant today. With a surety of purpose and incuriosity about the world that seems all too familiar, Ford deliberately rejected expert advice and set out to turn the Amazon into the Midwest of his imagination.
But along the Amazon, seringueiros often spent the “grey and sad” months of the rainy season, when latex ran too slow to tap, “in his hammock without any profitable occupation,” accumulating more debt that they would never work off. ”13 Two tappers smoking latex under a thatched lean-to. It was a system that produced enormous riches when Brazil had a monopoly on the world’s rubber trade and therefore largely set the global market price. But the wealth it created was fleeting and unsustainable. The tapping system itself could quickly deplete man and tree.
He did show up at Firestone’s Washington conclave and funded a few joint projects with the tire maker to explore the possibility of growing rubber in Nicaragua. And the two men underwrote Thomas Edison’s slow-going efforts to develop what Edison had taken to calling “war rubber”—that is, synthetic or organic alternatives to rubber, made from milkweed maybe or goldenrod. But he did nothing to help his friend realize his rubber association. “Mr. . ”9 When the lunch was over, Ford held Liebold back out of earshot.