Towards A New Era of Production

by CHRISTINA FRANKEN

HOW IT USED TO BE

As a child I loved to hang out at my grandmother’s farm, because I could find a lot of ‘ancient’ tools behind locked up workshop doors. My grandmother told me that her husband used to run the farm, but was also trained as the shoe maker of the village – he had special tools for treating leather for all kinds of purposes. I learned that most farmers in the village were specialised in another field of work, and helped each other on a daily basis. This meant that most fathers taught their sons the necessary technical skills to continue on the tradition. Sometimes they taught their grandkids because their children’s talents aimed into a different direction. As a matter of fact, my great-grandfather was a carpenter.

My granny told me that all products they used rarely came from a factory, things were produced on location, with durable local material and repaired by one of the specialists, if necessary. Food was produced locally as well. The village was a system, a self-contained economy.

Later on, my grandmother started to work in a new nearby factory, as it became too difficult to keep the farm. Factories became more common. The goods produced were ‘designed’ by someone far away. This was the Designer era: the juxtaposition of the amateur and the professional became conspicuous.

What I would like to introduce here is a reversal of this – a trend unfolding right now: the Maker Revolution. Have a read during the next weeks on what exactly is happening, where this comes from, and what scenarios this might lead us to.

AND NOW: A MERE TREND?

We are all aware of something called ‘Open Source’ software. Most of us use free software on a daily basis. This is a typical element of the digital production era. There will be learning more on the new laws of Intellectual Property in the next episode.

We are swamped by information on the scarcity of resources, yet excess of supply on many levels.

A new trend is emerging, which feels pretty natural to most of us:

Read more: Towards A New Era of Production — Urban Times.

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