The DIY Industrial Revolution

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 20 2012 @ 9:28am

Chris Anderson previews his new book. He argues that the "Maker Movement", which combines the Internet with manufacturing technologies like 3D printers, could lead to revolutionary economic benefits:

The fact is that any country, if it wants to remain strong, must have a manufacturing base. Even today, about a quarter of the US economy rests on the creation of physical goods. A service economy is all well and good, but eliminate manufacturing and you're a nation of bankers, burger flippers and tour guides. As for software and information industries, they may get all the press, but they employ just a small percentage of the population.

The nascent Maker movement offers a path to reboot manufacturing – not by returning to the giant factories of old, with their armies of employees, but by creating a new kind of manufacturing economy, one shaped more like the web itself: bottom-up, broadly distributed, and highly entrepreneurial. The image of a few smart people changing the world with little more than an internet connection and an idea increasingly describes manufacturing of the future, too.