I was reading this article by US Congressman Mark Takano. It’s a good piece about the rise of “maker” spaces and the way people are rediscovering repair and invention. So it’s about 3D printing and other small-scale manufacturing. Towards the end comes this paragraph:
Combine this change in purchasing patterns with declining domestic energy costs in the U.S., higher labor costs in Asia, higher international shipping costs, and supply chains that are becoming too complex to manage, and America is becoming a competitive location for companies to open factories in and begin manufacturing.
Doesn’t that cover a range of developments!:
- falling energy costs
- rising labour costs in Asia
- rising shipping costs
- rising complexity of supply chains
- America becoming competitive!
In other words, a range of factors that basically contradicts the working assumptions of most economic activity.
We really need to start thinking about this stuff, but who in government is? That is, who in the Australian government or opposition parties?
Takano suggests the ideas are making some headway in the US:
Corporate America, academia, and the federal government are taking note. Intel is creating and marketing products like a customizable controller board aimed at the Maker. Toyota worked with makers to develop an Urban Utility Concept Car. MIT is accepting maker portfolios in their application process. DARPA is funding a Makerspace that their employees can use, and back in June, the White House hosted their first Maker Faire.
And while we’re on the topic, it’s a good time to mention again Guy Rundle’s book, A Revolution in the Making, which interviews a lot of people involved in the maker movement.