Many subsequent (mainly neo-Marxist) theorists have used the concept in analysing the industrial and social order of full employment, mass production, the welfare state, and rising standards of consumption, which characterized advanced capitalist societies after the Second World War. However, the term is used variously to refer to assembly-line mass production, certain leading sectors of industry, a hegemonic form of industrial organization, or a ‘mode of regulation’–the meaning of which probably comes closest to that intended by Gramsci.
Following the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s, with associated changes in the social and technical organization of production and the alleged coming of post-industrial society, some suggest that fordism is in terminal crisis, being succeeded by ‘post-fordism’, based on so-called flexible production systems. This new terminology also carries varying meanings according to the context of use and author. See also REGULATION THEORY.
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