Without the Chicago meatpacking industry, America might never have developed a middle class or won World War 2. Why? It inspired the assembly line and revolutionized modern manufacturing. In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg shares the story.
Inspired by conveyor belts that moved beef during processing, Henry Ford implemented one for assembling cars using prefabricated parts. The time to build a Ford went from a day and a half to 93 minutes. Finished cars were soon coming off the line every three minutes!
The assembly line supercharged American manufacturing, leading to victory in both world wars. That same productivity led to lower consumer prices, higher wages, and an overall improved quality of life. America’s middle class was literally built on the assembly line.