03 February 2010


Welcome to another edition of Weird Wednesday!

Did you know that in 1928, Henry Ford built a utopian industrial town in the middle of the Amazon rainforest? It was called Fordlandia, and the idea was to have it supply Ford Motor Company with its own supply of rubber.

The town was built on strictly scientific, hygienic principles. Brazilian workers were given American style houses, American food (Hamburgers! They're good for you!), American ID badges and, despite the amazonian afternoon heat, American style work hours. Use of alcohol and tobacco were forbidden, even in workers' homes. The only music allowed was polka, square dancing and English-language sing-alongs. The rubber trees were planted following the best practices of rubber plantations in Asia... because Asia and South America are practically the same place, right? What could possibly go wrong?

Ford sold Fordlandia at a loss in 1945, after it had failed to provide any rubber whatsoever. I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere.

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