The automobile industry is a peak of capitalism, from embodying competition to remaining penny-pinching about the most minor and integral of safety requirements to the quality of trim on a dashboard. The automotive industry is one so intrinsically tied to the capitalist economic system that, throughout the 20th century, the industry's status as a whole was parallel with the human condition. Automobiles have become so deeply entangled with identity and that it is a major phenomenon that corporations prey upon, utilizing automobiles to perpetuate the economic status quo, while also contributing to the American illusions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness via (what is supposed to be) a simple mode of transportation. From the dawn of the popular automobile to the turn of the century, this chronological analysis, going decade by decade, the Model T to the Pontiac GTO, to the Dodge Viper, this research shows how the industry has consistently been at the forefront of advertising and production. Through indoctrination techniques and their products, manufacturers have successfully made themselves continually present in the minds of consumers, convincing people over and over again of the necessity of private automobiles at the cost of public transportation.
Download Full Text (819 KB)
Farley, Luke, "The Automotive Market and its Contributions to the American Illusions" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 100.