Via the P2P Foundation blog, I recently read an article entitled The Tranformation of Manufacturing in the 21st Century, written by Lawerence J. Rhoades of Ex One, a developer and supplier of innovative manufacturing technology and equipment in Pennsylvania, USA.
It is an excellent and comprehensive article detailing the nature of desktop manufacturing and how it could bring about a new industrial revolution will enable people to live where they like and produce what they need locally.
Mr. Rhoades concludes his article with a prediction for the new economy to come:
“Even if products are designed remotely, however, production will be done locally. Physical objects will be produced “at home” or “in the neighborhood” from locally recycled materials. Thus, cities will lose their economic advantage, and urban populations will be dispersed.
Although the revolution promised by these technologies could have great benefits for consumers in developing countries, the economic advantages of manufacturing in areas with comparatively cheap labor will be ultimately unsustainable, and workers in poor countries are likely to suffer. Consequently, our energy and creativity must also be focused on finding other paths to economic parity in the value of equivalent human labor to hundreds of millions of low-wage workers throughout the world.”
Sadly, Mr. Rhoades died on April 21st last. Even though he will not see the Tranformation of Manufacturing realised, his article lights the way for those who will follow, and highlights the responsibilities that go with the pursuit of progress.