Historical Ford fail

Published Sat 28 March 2009 11:23 (+1300)

It's kinda funny when western businessmen assume they know best about how to do everything:

Fordlândia was a vast tract of land purchased by American automobile tycoon Henry Ford in the 1920s. Ford intended to use Fordlândia to provide his company with a source of rubber for the tires on Ford cars, avoiding the dependence of British (Malayan) rubber.

The land was hilly, rocky and infertile. None of Ford's managers had the requisite knowledge of tropical agriculture. The rubber trees, packed closely together in plantations, as opposed to being widely spaced in the jungle, were easy prey for tree blight and insects. The mostly indigenous workers on the plantations, given unfamiliar food such as hamburgers and forced to live in American style housing, disliked the way they were treated — they had to wear ID badges, and to work midday hours under the tropical sun — and would often refuse to work. In 1930, the native workers revolted against the managers, many of whom fled into the jungle for a few days until the Brazilian Army arrived and the revolt ended.