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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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39. THE FALL OF A FREE TRADER

THE SHOCK WAVES OF these great events soon brought considerable changes in both Ford’s and the UAW’s view of protectionism. The union’s reaction was the more visceral; after all, its workers were immediately threatened. But the company was changing quickly too.

The Ford Motor Company had been a staunch advocate of free trade since the days of the founder, who had put his signature all over the world. His grandson had made some of his best early speeches on the subject and had symbolized to many in the postwar years the new generation of American business—liberal in its trade policy and enlightened in its dealings with labor. Of course, favoring free trade was natural to a company that was selling millions of dollars’ ...

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